Premier David Eby welcomes a tentative deal between longshore workers in British Columbia and their employers.
“The work of our ports and these workers is critical for the prosperity of everyone in our province and people across Canada,” Eby said in emailed statement. “The best way to get a lasting resolution is through negotiations at the bargaining table.”
About 7,400 longshore workers had been striking since July 1, impacting operations at B.C. ports, including the Port of Vancouver and the Port of Prince Rupert, Canada’s largest and third-largest. The B.C. Maritime Employers Association Thursday morning announced that it had reached a deal with the International Longshore and Warehouse Union Canada.
The labour dispute, which impacted all port operations except cruise ships and grain transports, caused disruptions up and down the supply chain and prompted several calls from provincial business leaders as well as Eby for its resolution. Both sides had been negotiating for months with assistance from the federal government, which has jurisdiction over ports.
The tentative deal — still subject to ratification — comes after federal Labour Minister Seamus O’Regan had ordered a mediator to issue terms of possible settlement, saying the gap in the deadlocked talks was “not sufficient to justify a continued work stoppage.”
O’Regan said in a tweet that “the strike is over” and the “parties are finalizing details for the resumption of work at the ports.”
Both the union and the employers had 24 hours to respond to the mediator’s recommended terms, which both sides received yesterday.
Eby said he is optimistic that this deal will help bring long-term stability to ports in British Columbia and solidify Vancouver’s as a world-class trade center while strengthening the provincial economy and provide fairness to workers.
“I’m grateful to all parties, the workers, the employer, and the federal government for their work,” he said. “The next step is for the federal government to assemble the provinces for a First Ministers meeting on trade and community infrastructure to build on this momentum and expand our country’s economic growth.”
The strike, but also the future of Canada’s economic infrastructure, including ports, was a major point of discussion during the recently concluded Council of Federation meeting in Winnipeg.
-with files from Canadian Press