Tentative deal reached in B.C. port strike

Tentative deal reached in B.C. port strike
Stacks of cargo containers are seen at port during a strike by International Longshore and Warehouse Union Canada workers in the province, in Vancouver, on Wednesday, July 12, 2023.

A tentative deal has been reached between employers and workers in the strike that has halted shipments in and out of British Columbia ports for nearly two weeks.

A statement from the B.C. Maritime Employers Association says it has reached a four-year agreement with the International Longshore and Warehouse Union Canada, which represents 7,400 workers in the job action that began July 1.

The tentative deal comes after federal Labour Minister Seamus O’Regan ordered a mediator to issue terms of possible settlement earlier this week, saying the gap in the deadlocked talks was “not sufficient to justify a continued work stoppage.”

In a tweet responding to the tentative deal, O’Regan says “the strike is over,” and the “parties are finalizing details for the resumption of work at the ports.”

Both the union and the employers had 24 hours to respond to the mediator’s recommended terms, which both sides received yesterday.

The deal is subject to ratification by members of both the union and the maritime employers, and no additional details have been released beyond the association saying it “recognizes the skills and efforts of B.C.’s waterfront workforce.”

The statement says employers are working to restart operations at B.C. ports as soon as possible, but no specific resumption time has been announced.

The strike has halted shipments in and out of about 30 ports in B.C., including Canada’s largest, the Port of Vancouver.

The Greater Vancouver Board of Trade says there are 63,000 shipping containers stuck on vessels waiting at B.C. ports to be unloaded as of yesterday, and that number would have ballooned to 245,000 had the strike persisted to the end of July.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 13, 2023.

The Canadian PressThe Canadian Press

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