Vancouver strikes averted at eleventh hour

GCT Deltaport An ILWU Canada-organised overtime ban took place at GCT's Vanterm and Deltaport container terminals. Credit Global Container Terminals

A BC Maritime Employers Association (BCMEA) enforced lockout has been lifted and an International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) Canada-organised strike withdrawn after a “tentative agreement” on a new labour contract was reached between the two organisations.

BCMEA said it would lock out workers on 30 May, following the beginning of planned strike action by ILWU Canada members. The Port of Vancouver reacted by warning “any type of work stoppage would be extremely disruptive” but the agreement was reached on 30 May, putting a swift end to any potential impact on port operations.

ILWU Canada said: “A tentative agreement has been reached this morning after all-night negotiations between the International Longshore and Warehouse Union Canada and the BC Maritime Employers Association, representing BC port employers.

“The BCMEA is lifting immediately a lockout of ILWU members imposed at 8 a.m. Thursday.  ILWU has withdrawn its strike notice as well.”

On 27 May, an overtime ban began at the Port of Vancouver’s Vanterm and Deltaport container terminals, operated by Global Container Terminals (GCT), prompting the lockout decision.

The union said it went through 18 months of negotiations to renew the industry collective agreement that expired on 31 March 2018. Earlier this month, ILWU Canada members voted 98.4% in favour of a strike if necessary.

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