BC strike on hold
July 10, 2007 By Pulp & Paper Canada
Postponed strike plans have thousands of forestry workers in British Columbia on edge. A recent report by the Natio…
Postponed strike plans have thousands of forestry workers in British Columbia on edge. A recent report by the National Post confirmed that the United Steelworkers Union filed a 72-hour strike notice, which was originally scheduled to come into effect on Saturday morning, July 7. However, a decision by union negotiators to avoid a strike until further notice was reached on July 6.
We were able to continue talks last night with Interfor until late in the night and we also got another response yesterday from Island Timberlands to move that table ahead a little bit, the Post reported Steelworkers negotiator Steve Hunt as saying. So based on that, we made a decision late last night not to put picket lines up because it would be counter-productive for those two tables.
The 4,500 workers implicated in the matter are employed by 31 companies that are represented by Forest Industrial Relations. As the Post report noted, although the workers are not employed by either Interfor or Island Timberlands, but do contract work for those companies, Hunt confirmed he did not want to jeopardize those ongoing talks.
Three main points of contention remain, and centre on the issue of contracting out work, partial-closure severance pay and alternate shifting, which allows companies to make alterations to work schedules depending on weather or market conditions.
Roughly 8,000 workers have been without a contract since mid-June. As the Post reported, a strike, if it happens, is expected to last for months and cripple the forest and pulp and paper industry along the entire B.C. coast.
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