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B.C. port union issues 72-hour strike notice affecting more than 7,000 workers.

VANCOUVER - The union representing port workers in British Columbia says it has issued 72-hour strike notice and its members are ready to walk off the job on Saturday.

The strike notice affects about 7,400 terminal cargo loaders and 49 of the province’s waterfront employers in more than 30 B.C. ports.

Negotiations between the International Longshore and Warehouse Union Canada and the BC Maritime Employers Association started in February in an attempt to reach an agreement before their contract expired at the end of March.

Both sides have been in a cooling-off period but that ended on June 21.

Union members voted 99.24 per cent in favour of strike action earlier this month.

The union said in a statement Wednesday that contracting out, port automation and cost of living are key issues in the dispute.

“Longshore workers kept this province and the country running during the pandemic, and when Canadians were told to shelter in place, our people went to work,’ the statement said.

“We worked in difficult and hazardous conditions to ensure that the communities where we live, and all Canadians, had the necessary supplies and personal protective equipment to defend against the COVID 19 virus.”

The union said management continues to demand concessions.

The Maritime Employers Association has not commented on the strike notice, but said in a statement Tuesday that both sides continue to meet with the assistance of a federal mediator and that bargaining was expected to go into next week.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 28, 2023.

Credit: The Canadian Press

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