British Columbia

Glimmer of hope in 7-month-long Western Forest Products strike, with talks poised to resume

Talks could resume as early as this weekend in Vancouver Island forestry workers' long-running strike after a mediator called both sides back to the table.

3,000 forest workers and contractors on Vancouver Island walked off the job on July 1, 2019

The union said it made zero concessions to the company in the new agreement. (USW 1-1937/Facebook)

Talks between striking Western Forest Products workers and the company could resume as early as this weekend. 

About 3,000 Vancouver Island coastal forest workers and contractors walked off the job July 1 over potential loss of pensions, seniority rights and long-term disability benefits.

The United Steelworkers Union Local 1-1937 sent out a notice to its members Thursday saying mediators Vince Ready and Amanda Rogers have emailed the union and Western Forest Products inviting them back to the table.

The union says it has agreed to return to negotiations while Western Forest Products says it will speak to the mediators before heading back to talks with the union.

Talks between the two parties reached an impasse in December. 

Port Hardy Mayor Dennis Dugas told CBC last month that the strike has been devastating to his town.

"Our businesses and community feel like they're part of the collateral damage," he said.

Meanwhile, the province says logging contractors affected by the strike can now apply for bridging loans from a $5 million fund that was established earlier this month. 

The money is intended to help them make payments on their logging equipment as the strike drags on. 


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