After a long night of discussions, a tentative deal has been reached for members of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union Canada (ILWU) and the B.C. Maritime Employers Association (BCMEA).
A lockout at the ports, which began Thursday at 8 a.m., has now been lifted.
The union says the tentative deal was reached with the assistance of federal Labour Minister Patty Hajdu.
No details of the tentative agreement will be released until it has been ratified by members of the longshore union. They voted 98 per cent in favour of a strike earlier this month to back their contract demands.
The union representing 6,500 longshoremen in B.C. was hoping to avert a lockout Thursday morning.
It’s believed representatives for the ILWU and BCMEA were negotiating all night ahead of a 8 a.m. deadline.
Following the 8 a.m. deadline, ILWU members were seen at the Vanterm container facility in Vancouver, and Deltaport in Delta carrying signs that said, “Locked Out.”
The union started limited job action on Monday morning with an overtime ban at the Vanterm container terminal in Vancouver and the Deltaport container terminal in Delta. No picket lines were set up.
But BCMEA board chair Jeff Scott said the longshoremen’s action amounted to more than just an overtime ban.
“The reality is is that we’ve had significant labour disruptions, we’ve had delays in productivity performance, some work refusals,” he said Tuesday.
“And what that has done is lead to significant impact to operations, specifically at Deltaport in terms of being able to handle and load their cargo efficiently and safely.”
On Tuesday, the employers issued lockout notice, effective 8 a.m. Thursday.
Automation at cargo terminals appeared to be the sticking point with the employer saying jobs have not been lost, but the union disagreeing.
— With files from Neetu Garcha