Tentative deal reached to end weeks-long B.C. port strike

B.C.’s port strike is over. The union and employer announced they reached a tentative four-year agreement Thursday morning, nearly two weeks after 7,400 workers at more than 30 ports walked off the job. But as Monika Gul reports, it will take time to return to normal.

The nearly two-week long B.C. port strike appears to be over.

According to the International Longshore and Warehouse Union Local 502 and the BC Maritime Employers Association, both sides came to an agreement Thursday morning.

The ILWU says the tentative deal was reached “as of 10:20 a.m.,” 10 minutes shy of the deadline set by the federal labour minister.

The end to job action comes days after Labour Minister Seamus O’Regan appointed a mediator and directed them to present the union and employer with recommendations.

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Those recommendations were sent to the BCMEA and ILWU Wednesday morning, with both sides required to respond within 24 hours.

“The tentative agreement is subject to ratification by both Parties, and subsequently, details of the agreement will not be released at this time,” the BCMEA said in a statement Thursday.

The employer says the agreement is for a four-year deal “that recognizes the skills and efforts of B.C.’s waterfront workforce.”

“In partnership with our member employers, the BCMEA is committed to working closely with ILWU Canada and their Locals and supply chain partners to safely resume operations as soon as possible. Please stay tuned for further operational updates,” the BCMEA added.

About 7,400 workers at more than 30 B.C. ports began striking on Canada Day over issues including pay and provisions related to maintenance work, contracting out, and automation.

Business groups have said the days-long job action has disrupted about $9 billion worth of trade.

“The BCMEA recognizes and regrets the significant impact this labour disruption has had on the economy, businesses, workers, customers and ultimately, all Canadians,” the employer added.

“We must collectively work together to not only restore cargo operations as quickly and safely as possible but to also rebuild the reputation of Canada’s largest gateway and ensure supply chain stability and resilience for the future.”

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