British Columbia: CIFFA Sends Letter to Ministers Urging Swift Action to Keep Ports Operating and Cargo Moving

On May 27, the Canadian International Freight Forwarders Association (CIFFA) received notification from the BC Maritime Employers Association (BCMEA) of its formal notice to the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWC) of its intention to lock out all longshore employees effective 08:00 on May 30.

This lockout will have far-reaching negative consequences for the Canadian economy and for the workers in many Canadian industries. The lockout would apply across all of British Columbia inclusive of all ports / terminals in Vancouver, Vancouver Island, Prince Rupert and Stewart.

Customers will be lost permanently due to rerouting cargo through the west coast ports in the United States.

CIFFA has dispatched a third letter to government officials that reiterates the resulting catastrophic impacts to Canada’s trade, to our ports and to our economy in the event of a lasting lockout, diversions or stoppage of cargo. We urge the Government of Canada to take any necessary action to keep the ports operating, and to ensure that Canada’s cargo continues to move uninterrupted.

We are also asking members, their clients/customers and supply chain partners to send a letter to officials. We are making available a template letter and email template with a list of addresses for this purpose.

Diversions/Disruptions So Far in West Coast Labour Dispute

With regard to diversions, CIFFA is aware of the following from GCT:

  • OOCL San Francisco (08:00hrs 28 May) – Diverted to Seattle as first port of call. Unknown what their plan is with regards to imports on vessel and exports on ground at Deltaport.
  • ONE Continuity (08:00hrs 29 May) – Departing Tacoma, WA and will go to anchorage until some certainty with labour.
  • CSL Manhattan (08:00hrs 29 May) – Departing Tacoma, WA and will go to anchorage until some certainty with labour.

On May 29, the president of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union says all of its members are on the job, despite a lockout notice issued by the association representing 55 waterfront employers in British Columbia. Rob Ashton says his members have no intention of shutting the ports down, and the lockout notice, due to take effect today, is the decision of the B.C. Maritime Employers Association. He says a lockout would cover every port in British Columbia, from Vancouver to New Westminster, Vancouver Island, Prince Rupert and Stewart. CTV News

On May 28, the Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour, released the following statement regarding the collective bargaining negotiations between the British Columbia Maritime Employers Association (BCMEA) and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union – Canada (ILWU):

On May 27, 2019, at 7 a.m. PT, targeted job action began at GCT Deltaport and GCT Vanterm, two container terminals at the Port of Vancouver.

Today, the BCMEA issued a notice that a lockout will begin on May 30, 2019, at 8 a.m. PT. This lockout will affect all BCMEA member companies that employ members of the ILWU‎ under the terms of the expired collective agreement between the parties.

The lockout will not affect cruise ships or employees required to service grain vessels in accordance‎ with section 87.7 (1) of the Canada Labour Code.

The Government of Canada supports and has faith in the collective bargaining process. Minister Garneau and I have reached out to both parties on numerous occasions to encourage them to reach a deal. I am disappointed an agreement has not been reached and expect both parties to negotiate an agreement as soon as possible.

The Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service team is assisting the parties, and we will continue to provide support during their bargaining to help the parties reach an agreement.


Source: CIFFA


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