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

Toronto, July 19, 2023

Thousands of port workers across British Columbia are resuming strike activity after failing to ratify a tentative deal that was reached through federal mediation.  More than 7,400 workers from the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) had walked off the job from July 1st until July 13th over issues related to port automation, outside contracting, and the increasing cost of living.

A tentative agreement had been reached between the ILWU and their employer, the B.C. Maritime Employers Association (BCMEA), on July 13th after Labour Minister, Seamus O’Regan, asked for terms to end the strike, drawn up by a federal mediator.  However, the BCMEA said in a statement on Tuesday that strike activity will resume, due to ILWU’s internal caucus rejecting the tentative agreement and not ratifying it.

On Tuesday night, O’Regan and Transport Minister, Omar Alghabra, said workers and employers across the country “cannot face further disruption on the scale we saw last week.”  The federal government is now looking at all options and are expected to provide further details in the next two days.

The strike has upended operations at two of Canada’s three busiest ports, the Port of Vancouver and the Port of Prince Rupert, which are key gateways for both import and export cargo, so the ramifications of such action is felt across Canada.  The Greater Vancouver Board of Trade estimated that almost ten billion dollars in traded goods were affected during the initial strike action from July 1st to July 13th.

For more information, please call David Lychek, Director – Ocean & Air Services at (905) 882-4880, ext. 1207.

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