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Full-scale strike avoided at key Metro Vancouver ports

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Rumneek Johal May 27, 2019 12:24 pm

The union that represents 2,000 waterfront workers says that all ports will remain open Monday as contract talks continue.

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The announcement comes after the International Longshore and Warehouse Union voted overwhelmingly in favour of taking a job action, and the union issued a 72-hour strike notice on Friday that was to take effect as of today, May 27, at 7 am.

The strike action was set to happen at Global Container Terminals, which currently services 50% of all containers transiting through Canada, according to its website.

However, a release from the union on Sunday says that the union has plans to take “limited and targeted job action at Monday morning at GCT Delta and GCT Vanterm” as part of ILWU’s efforts to negotiate a new collective agreement.

Part of the limited and targeted job action will include an overtime ban, which will be carried out at GCT Deltaport in the municipality of Delta, and at GCT Vanterm in Vancouver only, according to ILWU Canada President Rob Ashton.

“Contrary to comments made by employers to the media, all terminals will remain open for business and ILWU-Canada and its locals will not put up picket lines at this time,” said Ashton. “Our goal is to keep the ports open with minimal disruption to trade.”

According to the release, the union has been engaged in 18 months of negotiations to renew the industry collective agreement that expired on March 31, 2018.

“We made the difficult decision to exercise our constitutional right to engage in job action because all other means have failed to reach an agreement,” said Ashton.

The ILWU bargaining committee is currently negotiating with federal mediators.

The union received a 98.4 % strike vote mandate earlier this month.

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