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Canada port strike resumes
Pic : Port of Vancouver
Dr.G.R.Balakrishnan Jul 19 2023 International Ports News

Canada port strike resumes

The strike along Canada’s west coast is back on after a dockworker union yesterday 18 July rejected a four-year wage deal agreed with employers last week

The Canada branch of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU Canada) said the deal, struck with the help of federal mediators last week, was for too long a period and did not provide enough job security protection. 

“We regret to advise that ILWU Canada (ILWU) has communicated that ILWU’s internal caucus leadership rejected the tentative agreement, before it was even taken to a vote of the full union membership,” the British Columbia Maritime Employers Association (BCMEA) said in a Tuesday 18 July statement.

ILWU Canada president Rob Ashton said the four-year agreement was “far too long” given the uncertainties in the industry and the economy overall.

Some 7,400 dockworkers had gone on strike for 13 days from July 1, before a tentative deal was struck last week.  n response to the strike’s resumption, Alberta premier Danielle Smith tweeted that “the federal government must reconvene Parliament and legislate these workers return to work.” Two years ago the parliament was able to quickly nix a similar strike in Montreal. 

Greater Vancouver Board of Trade president Brigitte Anderson expressed she was “dismayed and disappointed” by the development.

“We are greatly concerned about the impacts the continuation of the strike will have on Canada’s international reputation as a reliable trade partner” and put Canadian businesses at risk, said Anderson in a statement.

The BC Chamber of Commerce also chimed in about being “profoundly disappointed” that the ILWU rejected the deal.

Canadian wharfies had been catching up on the backlog that the earlier 13-day strike had created. Latest vessel tracking data shows Prince Rupert port had cleared its backlog of boxships, while there are seven containerships waiting for a berth to open up at Vancouver, Canada’s largest port.