Canadian dockers plan strike in British Columbia ports Ship’s crew

The British Columbia Maritime Employers Association (BCMEA) has received a formal, written 72-hour strike notice from the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) Canada as collective bargaining between the two sides has reached an impasse.

The strike notice relates to the ILWU Canada Longshore Local’s expired collective bargaining agreement with the BCMEA. The strike is scheduled to begin July 1, 2023 at 8:00 a.m. PT in British Columbia.

Since the previous agreements expired on March 31, 2023, the two sides have not been able to reach an agreement.

The negotiations include two coastal collective agreements, one with the Longshore Locals and one with the Local 514 Ship & Dock Forums, which represent over 7,400 longshore workers and foremen in Canada’s west coast ports. These agreements cover various aspects such as wages, benefits, working hours and employment conditions.

The BCMEA represents 49 private shoreline employers and operators in British Columbia.

In response to the strike alert, Canada’s Labor Secretary Seamus O’Regan and Transport Secretary Omar Alghabra issued a joint statement emphasizing the importance of reaching an agreement as part of the negotiation process.

“We strongly encourage the parties to return to the negotiating table and work together towards an agreement. That is the most important thing at the moment,” the joint statement said.

The possible strike has raised concerns about its impact on Canada’s supply chains and the movement of goods both domestically and internationally. But workers in charge of maintaining grain ships and cruise ships are expected to be exempt from the strike.

As of March 28, 2023, the BCMEA and ILWU Canada have been conducting mediation and mediation efforts following ILWU Canada’s filing of a Notice of Dispute.

The BCMEA claims it made several proposals in good faith and is committed to making progress towards a fair settlement. Despite the announcement of the strike, the BCMEA agrees to continue negotiations through federal mediation to reach a balanced agreement that will ensure port stability and uninterrupted flow of goods for Canadians.

ILWU Canada, on the other hand, says it is seeking a fair deal that meets its goals, which include preventing labor erosion from outsourcing, protecting dockworkers from the effects of port automation, and protecting against the effects of high inflation and rising costs of living . The union stressed the contribution of dockers during the pandemic and expressed disappointment at the BCMEA’s calls for concessions.

“BCMEA and its member employers have refused to negotiate on the main issues,” ILWU Canada said in its statement.

The union called on the BCMEA to give up all concessions and engage in real negotiations to end the dispute while respecting dockers’ rights and conditions.

The latest industrial action comes just weeks after the ILWU reached a tentative agreement with port terminal operators, represented by the Pacific Maritime Association, on the US West Coast for a new employment contract. This concluded more than a year of negotiations that had a significant impact on the US container trade.

Related Articles

Back to top button