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ILWU Plans Strike at DP World Canada Starting Monday

Port of Vancouver
Port of Vancouver file image

Published Jul 7, 2024 5:16 PM by The Maritime Executive

 

The International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) has notified terminal operator DP World Canada that it plans to go out on strike beginning at 1630 hours on Monday afternoon.

In response, the B.C. Maritime Employers' Association (BCMEA) - the collective bargaining group for port employers on Canada's West Coast - said that it would lock out Local 514 workers across the province, not just at DP World's facilities. The coastwide lockout would shut down all cargo docks in B.C., with exceptions for grain terminals and cruise lines.

The BCMEA has asked the Canada Industrial Relations Board to intervene in the dispute with early action this weekend, before the strike begins. The board was already scheduled to begin hearings this coming week to discuss the dispute. 

The sticking point for the ILWU is DP World's decision to begin using automated systems at a rail yard in Vancouver's Centerm container terminal. The union strongly opposes automation at all West Coast ports in its coverage area. According to Local 514, members rejected DP World's final contract offer by a margin of 99 to 1, in part because of the automation issue. Wages and retirement benefits are also part of the negotiations. 

BCMEA said that the offer that ILWU turned down included a wage increase of 19 percent. The union has repeatedly expressed concerns that if automation is not blocked during contract talks, many longshore jobs will be gradually eliminated or reduced. 

Though the current dispute is specific to DP World, ILWU has managed to reach agreement with BCMEA before. Last fall, the groups reached a comprehensive agreement covering more than 7,000 longshoremen across the province.