West Coast terminal deal follows brief lockout

Employees at west coast shipping terminals in Vancouver and Prince Rupert will return to work this afternoon, ending a brief lock out that took effect at 8 a.m. this morning.

The British Columbia Maritime Employers Association (BCMEA), which represents west coast shipping companies and terminal operators, announced earlier today that it has reached a tentative labour agreement with the International Longshore & Warehouse Union-Canada (ILWU.)

“The British Columbia Maritime Employers Association and ILWU-Canada are pleased to advise they have come to a tentative agreement that will continue to allow all B.C. ports to be a competitive, efficient and reliable gateway for the benefit of all Canadians. The tentative agreement is subject to ratification,” the BCMEA said in a statement released to media just before 11 a.m. (PDT).

“Effective immediately, the lockout across the B.C. waterfront has been lifted and operations are set to resume for the 1630 shift on Thursday, May 30, 2019.”

Jeff Scott, board chair for the BCMEA, said the agreement, once ratified, will secure a positive long-term outlook for trade and operations at BCMEA terminals.

“The lockout has been lifted and we look forward to getting operations back to normal,” he said.

ILWU workers have been working without a contract since March 31, 2018.

Earlier this month, union members voted 98 percent in favour of strike action in the event that a negotiated settlement was not reached.

The union later announced that it would take limited and targeted job action at a pair of west coast container terminals, beginning May 27.

The BCMEA responded by issuing notice of a lockout, which took effect early today.

Representatives from the ILWU were not immediately available for comment.

Contact brian.cross@producer.com

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