Possible B.C. port strike will spare cruise ships, employers say

By The Canadian Press

A possible strike by British Columbia port workers will not disrupt cruise ships docked in Vancouver, Prince Rupert, or Vancouver Island, employers say.

The BC Maritime Employers Association says it and the union representing cargo loaders have “confirmed” that cruise ships will continue to be serviced if a strike starts Saturday morning.

The association says in a statement the exemption was a result of the federal “mediation and conciliation service process.”

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The International Longshore and Warehouse Union Canada issued a 72-hour strike notice on Wednesday and is scheduled to go on strike at 8 a.m. Saturday unless a deal is reached or progress is made in negotiations.

The Vancouver Fraser Port Authority’s schedule shows three cruise ships docked, Royal Caribbean’s Radiance of the Seas, Seabourn’s Odyssey, and Cunard’s Queen Elizabeth.

The Greater Victoria Harbour Authority also shows three cruise ships in port, The Royal Princess, The Norwegian Bliss, and Holland America’s Eurodam.

The strike notice, issued Wednesday affects about 7,400 terminal cargo loaders and 49 of the province’s waterfront employers at more than 30 B.C. ports.

The union says that contracting out, port automation, and cost of living are key issues in the dispute.

Federal ministers and British Columbia Premier David Eby have urged both sides to find a way to avert job action, with Eby saying Wednesday he was “profoundly worried” about a strike’s potential impact.

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