Deal reached to end month-long strike at Canada's largest port

Wed Mar 26, 2014 10:21pm EDT
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By Julie Gordon

VANCOUVER (Reuters) - Negotiators on Wednesday reached a deal to end the month-long container truck strike that has crippled operations at Canada's largest port and slowed the transport of hundreds of millions of dollars worth of goods.

The new deal, brokered by the province, means that the more than 1,000 striking drivers will return to work at Port Metro Vancouver on Thursday morning.

"This agreement means the port is open again for business starting tomorrow morning," said British Columbia premier Christy Clark at a press conference in Victoria, the provincial capital.

The deal came after provincial politicians spent a third day debating back-to-work legislation, which would have forced the drivers to return to their rigs. That legislation has now been withdrawn by the province.

"We have been clear from the very beginning that negotiation is the only way to achieve labor peace," said Jerry Dias, national president for Unifor, which represents the union drivers. "We were not going to have a plan imposed on us."

The new deal, based on a previous plan put forward by government and the port, was signed by Premier Clark, along with representatives of both the union and non-union drivers.

"This is an agreement that working truckers can be satisfied with," said Paul Johal, president of the Unifor local, in a statement.

More than 1,000 non-union drivers walked off the job on February 26 in protest over pay and services at Port Metro Vancouver. Their unionized colleagues voted to join the strike days later and have been on the picket line since March 10.   Continued...