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B.C. port employer requests ‘urgent strike intervention’ by the CIRB

Strike action set to begin Monday evening
Gantry cranes sit idle above cruise ships and stacks of cargo containers at port during a strike by International Longshore and Warehouse Union Canada workers in the province, in Vancouver, on July 12, 2023. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

The BC Maritime Employers Association says it is requesting urgent intervention by the Canada Industrial Relations Board to divert a looming strike by a union representing ship and dock foremen.

The association said Friday that ILWU Local 514 had served a notice of intended strike action against DP World Canada that will begin on Monday at 4:30 p.m.

It said that came despite the Canada Industrial Relations Board commencing hearings this week to address complaints between it and the union.

The association says it is now asking the board to declare the union’s proposals and strike action as contrary to the Canada Labour Code.

It says the board has scheduled case management on Sunday morning to address the request.

The employers association says if the board allows the strike to proceed, it will have “no choice” than to take defensive action in the form of an industry-wide lockout.

The BCMEA says it has issued formal notice to ILWU Local 514 of its intention to defensively lock out all of the union’s members on Tuesday at 4:30 p.m.

“This coastwide lockout, should it be required, will shut down all cargo operations of BCMEA member companies across the province, but will not affect cruise operations nor interrupt longshoring operations on grain vessels,” the association said in its release.

It says it is calling on the ILWU Local 514 to withdraw its strike notice and let the dispute process conclude at the Canada Industrial Relations Board.

The International Longshore and Warehouse Union said in a statement last month that 99 per cent of the nearly 600 longshore 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 union said there were other unresolved issues as well, such as improvements to retirement benefits and certain allowances.

READ ALSO: B.C. ship and dock foremen issue 72-hour strike notice to employer

The Canadian Press

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