B.C. longshore foreman strike averted after Industrial Relations Board steps in

By CityNews Staff

A strike by ship and dock foremen at B.C.’s ports has been averted after a decision from Canada’s Industrial Relations Board (CIRB).

According to a release from B.C.’s Maritime Employers Association (BCMEA), the CIRB found the strike action went against Canada’s Labour Code.

As a result, the board has ordered ILWU Local 514 to rescind their strike notice and advise their members about it.

On Friday, the BCMEA said ILWU Local 514 — the union representing hundreds of the province’s ship and dock foremen — issued a 72-hour notice of intended strike against terminal operator company DP World (Canada) Inc.

CityNews has made multiple attempts to reach the union for confirmation.

According to a BCMEA news release earlier this week, the union plans to be on the picket lines starting Monday.

ILWU 514, which represents close to 600 workers, has been negotiating since November 2022 and is asking for wage increases and retirement benefits, among other demands.

The CIRB was already set to commence hearings this week to address these complaints.

The ILWU said in a statement last month that 99 per cent of foremen who voted were against a “final offer” from the employers association.

Local 514 president Frank Morena said at the time that DP World Canada told them in December it would unilaterally introduce some automation at its rail intermodal yard at the Centerm port in Vancouver.

The BCMEA says they had previously offered a 19.2 per cent wage increase and are disappointed with the move.

Last year, B.C.’s port workers went on strike in July over wages, benefits, and training issues. In August, a contract covering 7,400 workers in the province was approved by the union after it had rejected a mediated settlement twice. The BCMEA said at the time that the collective agreement reached included increases in wages and benefits as well as training.

At the time, the Vancouver Board of Trade issued a statement saying an estimated $10 billion worth of trade was disrupted during the strike.

With files from The Canadian Press.

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