The International Longshore and Warehouse Union Canada has issued a strike notice for the GCT Deltaport and Vanterm Terminals in Vancouver, British Colombia.
Following a strike vote earlier this month, the ILWU Canada has served the British Colombia Maritime Employers Association (BCMEA) with notice it will begin a strike at the Deltaport and Vanterm terminals, which are both operated by GCT Canada, on Monday 27 May. The notice does not cover the Centerm container terminal, which is operated by DP World.
Speaking with WorldCargo News, BCMEA Board Chair, Jeff Scott, clarified that the required 72 hour notice period has been met, so the strike is not an illegal strike. The BCMEA has requested a federal mediator under Canada’s Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (FMCS), which provides assistance to trade unions and employers under the jurisdiction of the Canada Labour Code (Code). The FMCS has been successful in resolving disputes between the ILWU Canada and BCMEA previously. Talks will be held over the weekend, and Scott was optimistic the parties could make sufficient progress for the strike to be called off.
The ILWU Canada and BCMEA have been trying to negotiate a new contract since February, and it is believed that automation is key sticking point. GCT Canada has implemented remote control systems on the new Kuenz widespan intermodal cranes in its rail yard at Deltaport and may be looking to extend the concept to other areas of its operation.
Scott declined to go into details on the issues between the ILWU and the BCMEA, but was clear that Vancouver port employers believe automation is a key factor in growing their business and remaining competitive, “enabling family supporting jobs to remain in our ports in Canada,” he said.
Monday 27 is the Memorial Day holiday in the US, but not in Canada. Vanterm would normally be working an Ocean Alliance service, while Deltaport would be handling calls from MSC, the Ocean Alliance and The Alliance.