Striking tugboat operators for Seaspan ULC who have been holding a picket line outside the entrance to the Esquimalt Graving Dock have been ordered to stand down by the BC Supreme Court.
Members of the Canadian Merchant Service Guild (CMSG) who work on 30 of Seaspan’s tugboats have been carrying out job action since Aug. 25, after negotiations on a new collective agreement broke down despite the help of a federal mediator.
Last week, workers began picketing at the Seaspan-owned Victoria Shipyards, located at the Esquimalt Graving Dock, where companies like BC Ferries also rent space to complete repairs.
Victoria Shipyards then made an application to the court to put an end to the picket lines, and in a Sept. 10 decision, the court issued its order.
The defendants named in the order as well as anyone “acting under their instruction” are now “restrained and enjoined” from picketing at or near the Victoria Shipyards, which includes the property at 825 Admirals Rd. and a back gate that provides access on Maplebank Road.
However, the document does state that the union members named in the order may apply to have it set aside if they provide 72-hour notice of picket lines, so long as they deliver the application to the plaintiffs.
As for collective agreement negotiations, Seaspan issued a statement saying that it is “committed to working directly with the union to come to a fair resolution” while minimizing impacts to the industry.
The labour disruption only affects Seaspan’s tug and barge business and does not directly impact work at the Victoria Shipyards, or Seaspan Ferries.
Correction: An earlier version of this story did not include part of the order which states union members can apply to have it set aside if they provide 72 hours notice of picket lines.