Business

Deal averts strike by cargo handlers

A container ship preparing to offload at Deltaport. - File
A container ship preparing to offload at Deltaport.
— image credit: File

A tentative deal has been reached to avert a strike by longshoremen at B.C. ports.

The 3,500 members of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union  Canada (ILWU) are expected to vote next week on the on the prospective deal reached late Sunday.

Union leaders are unanimously recommending acceptance.

"It's good for stability, reliability and predictability for Canada's West Coast ports," ILWU president Tom Dufresne said.

"It shows that free collective bargaining continues to be the most effective way to set our conditions of work.”

The union had conducted a strike vote in February but never issued 72-hour strike notice.

Details have not been released but Dufresne confirmed the deal does provide a pay increase.

Representatives of both Port Metro Vancouver and affected shipping companies said they are cautiously optimistic.

"We are looking forward to both parties ratifying the deal and bringing the kind of stability and certainty to the Pacific Gateway that grows the gateway," said Greg Vurdela, spokesman for the B.C. Maritime Employers Association (BCMEA).

He had previously warned the mere threat of a strike by unionized longshore workers was resulting in cargo shipments being diverted from Port Metro Vancouver terminals to U.S. ports.

The BCMEA had demanded a method of going to binding arbitration to avoid long periods of labour uncertainty.

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