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B.C. port workers resume strike after union rejects tentative deal

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Thousands of dockworkers across British Columbia are resuming strike action after failing to ratify an interim agreement reached through federal arbitration.

More than 7,400 workers from the International Union of Ports and Warehousing (ILWU) left their jobs between 1 July and 13 July, citing issues such as port automation, outsourcing and rising living costs.

An interim agreement was reached on July 13 between the ILWU and its employer, the BC Maritime Employers Association (BCMEA), following Labor Minister Seamus O’Regan’s request for terms to end the strike made by the Federal Arbitrators. had reached an agreement.

However, the BCMEA said in a statement on Tuesday that strike activities would resume after the ILWU’s internal executive board rejected and failed to ratify the interim agreement.

On Tuesday night, Oregan and Transport Minister Omar Al-Ghabra said workers and employers across the country “cannot face further disruption on the scale we saw last week.”

“We are considering all options and will provide further details on this matter tomorrow,” they said in a statement.

Watch | Impact of BC Port Strike on Canadians:

What the BC Port Strike Means for Canada

Dock workers across BC are on strike. We detail why it’s happening and what it means for you and the Canadian economy.

They argue that the mediation agreement represents a fair and balanced agreement for both sides.

“We have been patient. We have respected the collective bargaining process.

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“Both the BCMEA and the ILWU have recommended their respective member states to ratify the interim settlement,” the BCMEA said in a statement on Tuesday.

“BCMEA ratified the agreement on July 13.”

The BCMEA said the arbitrated four-year collective bargaining agreement included “substantial” wage and benefit increases, as well as provisions to address union concerns about outsourcing and worker retention.

Canada’s ILWU said the conditions it recommended were not sufficient to protect docker jobs “now and in the future”.

“In today’s uncertain times, the collective bargaining deadline given is far too long,” union president Rob Ashton said in a statement.

“We must be able to re-address the uncertainties in global financial markets for our member countries.”

Around 5pm on Tuesday, the picketers returned to the BCMEA dispatch office near the port of Vancouver. The ILWU members chanted, “Whether it’s one injury or everyone else’s injury,” “One day longer, one day stronger.”

A man of South Asian descent with a fluttering beard walks the streets wearing a sandwich board that reads,
July 7 sees ILWU workers strike. The 13-day strike of dockers has cost the industry billions of dollars, governing bodies say. (Justin Boulan/CBC)

Greater Vancouver Trade Commission Chairman Bridget Anderson said in a statement that she was “dismayed and disappointed” by the renewed strike.

“I am very concerned about the impact of the continued strikes on Canada’s international reputation as a reliable trading partner,” he said.

“In less than two weeks, businesses across Canada have faced staffing shortages, layoffs and, in some cases, complete closures.”

Watch | British Columbia dockers shout as strikes resume in Vancouver.

BC Port Workers Renew Strike

After the International Coastal Warehousing Union caucus rejected the tentative agreement, a new strike was launched against workers in Vancouver.

The strike halted all goods flow through the B.C. coast, including Canada’s busiest port in Vancouver.

Industry groups estimated that the strike disrupted trade, cost billions of dollars in losses, and led to layoffs at industrial facilities in Prince George and Saskatchewan.

call for a return-to-work bill

Several industry groups and Alberta Premier Daniel Smith had called for Congress to reconvene and pass a return-to-work bill to end the first 13-day strike.

Tuesday, Smith repeated her call Call for legislation to force ILWU workers back into staff at more than 30 port terminals in BC.

WATCH | Oregan speaks out on calling for conditions to end the strike on July 12:

BC Port Strike Parties Talks Following Labor Minister’s ‘Forcible Nudge’

Federal Labor Secretary Seamus Oregan said he was confident the two sides would agree terms to end the ongoing BC port strike.

But Mr. Oregan and the federal government maintained that the best deal had been reached at the negotiating table.

Oregan characterized his act of asking the federal mediator for recommended settlement terms as a “powerful nudge” for both sides of the dispute.

Federal NDP transportation commentator Taylor Backluck said in a statement that the strike resumption was a setback, but that it was within unions’ bargaining power to reject the deal and negotiate without threats of ending legal disputes. should continue.

“We also reiterate our call on the federal government to support the collective bargaining process rather than relying on the kind of return-to-work bills that Liberal and Conservative governments have imposed too often.” said Bachach.

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