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Thursday, April 14, 2011

Update on labour negotiations at British Columbia harbours

Contract negotiations were held last week between the British Columbia Maritime Employers Association (BCMEA) and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) Canada with the assistance of Federal Mediator Bill Lewis.

Additional meetings were scheduled for this week and started on Wednesday, April 13th.

The contract covering longshoremen along British Columbia's coast ports expired on March 31, 2010.

Neither side has given the mandatory written 72 hour strike or lock-out notice and as such, a lawful work stoppage cannot occur.

Such stoppage is all the more unlikely as the Minister of Labour has, during a Federal election and in the name of national interest, the power to prevent a strike or lock-out until 21 days following the election. It is widely assumed that the current Minister would exercise this power, given the economic importance of the harbours that would be affected by any work stoppage.

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