Kootenay Lake ferry workers launch 3-day strike amid contract negotiations

Passengers look at the view framed by a window on the Kootenay Bay to Balfour, B.C., ferry Saturday, Aug. 6, 2011. The BC Ferries run is the longest free ferry in North America. THE CANADIAN PRESS IMAGES/Jeff McIntosh

BALFOUR, B.C. — Ferry workers in the Kootenays region of British Columbia have begun a three-day strike following unsuccessful negotiations over their collective agreement, which expired in March.

READ MORE: Kootenay Lake ferry service cancelled for Labour Day weekend over labour dispute

The targeted strike means there will be no service between Balfour and Kootenay Bay this Labour Day weekend, with workers on standby for emergencies only.

Danielle Marchand, press secretary for the BC Government and Service Employees’ Union, says the goal is to push the ferry workers’ employer, Western Pacific Marine Ltd., to come back to the bargaining table after negotiations fell apart between May and June.

Company spokesman Bryan Coe says Western Pacific Marine put mediation and arbitration on the table in early June and is willing to start negotiating again at any time.

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Overtime and wages are among the sticking points.

Full service on Kootenay Lake is set to resume on Tuesday, Sept. 3.

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