Workers at Canadian ports say yes to new deal
09 / 08 / 2023
Workers at the ports of Prince Rupert and Vancouver in Canada have voted to accept a new deal that will put an end to industrial action and the threat of widespread supply chain disruption.
The International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) Canada released a statement on August 4 that said: “The results of the ratification vote for the tentative agreement show 74.66% in favour of accepting the terms of settlement.”
In an operational update on August 5, the Port of Vancouver said: “Last night, August 4, the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) Canada ratified the negotiated tentative agreement with the British Columbia Maritime Employers Association (BCMEA) with 74.66% of the members voting in favour. The BCMEA ratified the agreement on July 31. The four-year agreement will be in effect until 2027.”
Industrial action involving over 7,000 dockworkers belonging to the ILWU Canada began on July 1 after the union failed to reach an agreement with the British Columbia Maritime Employers Association (BCMEA).
The ILWU Canada announced the proposed new settlement for workers at the end of July.
But the path to a settlement has not been a smooth process. Strike action at the ports was called off on July 19 following disagreements about whether the rules for industrial action were followed.
Workers then rejected the terms of a proposed deal, according to ILWU Canada on July 28.
The strike action could have resulted in supply chain congestion, with shipments diverted to airports in Canada and the US, said Airforwarders Association (AfA) executive director Brandon Fried last month.
US ports have also been blighted by strikes in recent years, but in June the Pacific Maritime Association and the ILWU in the US announced a tentative agreement on a new six-year contract covering workers at all 29 US west coast ports.