VANCOUVER – Talks between maritime employers and the union representing British Columbia port workers remain deadlocked over maintenance issues as a strike by the workers enters its fifth day.
Both sides have issued statements singling out a maintenance deal as the reason talks stalled Monday, leaving more than 7,000 workers at 30 ports across B.C. on strike since Saturday morning.
The International Longshore and Warehouse Union Canada says its jurisdiction over maintenance is being eroded by the use of contractors, and the key issue is the refusal of employers to agree to “one sentence” of a maintenance document.
The BC Maritime Employers Association meanwhile says the union is trying to “aggressively expand” its control of maintenance duties far beyond an agreement that the association says has been “legally well established for decades.”
It says union workers are already unable to fulfil duties they have jurisdiction over, and changing the rules would have “immediate and significant impacts” at ports.
Business organizations as well as officials in both Alberta and Saskatchewan have called on Ottawa to step in and end the strike, but federal Labour Minister Seamus O’Regan says he wants the union and employers to go back to the negotiating table.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 5, 2023.