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B.C. port employer requests 'urgent strike intervention'

Union serves notice of strike action beginning at 4:30 p.m. on Monday
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Gantry cranes sit idle above cruise ships and stacks of cargo containers at port during a strike by International Longshore and Warehouse Union Canada workers in the province, in 91ԭ, on July 12, 2023. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

VANCOUVER — The B.C. Maritime Employers Association has requested urgent intervention by the Canada Industrial Relations Board to divert a looming strike by a union representing ship and dock foremen.

The association said International Longshore and Warehouse Union Local 514 had served a notice of intended strike action against DP World Canada that will begin at 4:30 p.m. on Monday.

It said that came despite the Canada Industrial Relations Board starting hearings to address complaints between it and the union.

The association said it had asked the board to declare the union’s proposals and strike action as contrary to the Canada Labour Code. It said the board had scheduled case management to address the request.

The employers association said if the board allows the strike to proceed, it will have “no choice” but to take defensive action in the form of an industry-wide lockout.

The association has issued formal notice to ILWU Local 514 of its intention to defensively lock out all of the union’s members on Tuesday at 4:30 p.m.

“This coastwide lockout, should it be required, will shut down all cargo operations of BCMEA member companies across the province, but will not affect cruise operations nor interrupt longshoring operations on grain vessels,” the association said. It called on ILWU Local 514 to withdraw its strike notice and let the dispute process conclude at the Canada Industrial Relations Board.

The ILWU said last month that 99 per cent of the nearly 600 longshore foremen who voted were against a “final offer” from the employers association.

Local 514 president Frank Morena said at the time that DP World Canada told them in December it would unilaterally introduce some automation at its rail intermodal yard at the Centerm port in 91ԭ.

The union said there were other unresolved issues as well.