Saturday, February 14, 2009

Valentines and labour agreements

The season of love seemed to be the tonic for the ongoing talks between the ILWU Local 514 and the BCMEA, a note short as it is, posted on the BCMEA website today declares that a tentative agreement has been reached between the two parties who had been negotiating off an on through most of January and February.

Local 514 represents all ship and dock foremen at BC Ports, while the BCMEA is the umbrella group for the province's shipping companies and handlers on shore.
Subject to ratification by both sides, the threat of a labour dispute on the West coast ports appears to have been lifted, the details of the settlement are to be released later on, no doubt once the two sides have had a chance to look the final product over.

The prospect of a strike/lockout had dwindled as time went on, mainly with the resumption of Parliament in Ottawa, it was expected that had there been a declaration of strike or imposition of a lock out that the Federal Government would have stepped in quickly to provide for back to work legislation.

Instead, the bargaining table proved to be the most reliable route to settlement for the two sides.

While the negotiations had been underway, the threat of a labour disruption had seen some shipping companies steer their cargo to American ports as a form of insurance, now the regular shipments can continue through BC's ports and ambitious plans to try and increase the throughput can continue on with a guaranteed workload to provide to shippers.
Update: The Vancouver Sun provided a note on the settlement on their website on Sunday night.

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