British Columbia

New strike threat at B.C. Ferries

Picket lines could go up at the ferry repair yard on Sunday morning, as contract talks with ferry maintenance and repair workers have broken down.

Picket lines could go up at the ferry repair yard on Sunday morning, as contract talks with ferry maintenance and repair workers have broken down.

Deas Pacific Marine has been bargaining with local 8 of the B.C. Ferry and Marine Workers Union for the past seven months.

Earlier this year, the employees voted 96 per cent in favour of strike action to back their contract demands.

And then a month ago, the union served 72-hour strike notice on the company, which is a subsidiary of B.C. Ferries.

Deas Pacific Marine is asking the Labour Relations Board to put its final offer to a vote – despite the union's objections.

Company CEO Bruce Baxter says the 160 repair workers have a right to see what the company is offering.

"What's important is that our workers are allowed to make a decision on their own futures and that of the company. They need to be allowed to see this because, frankly, they have not been shown anything to date by the union.

"We don't want this decision being taken in isolation by three or four people, some of whom don't even work here," says Baxter.

The president of the union local says the employees have been told to take their tools home when they leave work on Friday.

Andrew Tabbernor says the union executive will decide this weekend whether to take strike action – that could start as early as 9 a.m. Sunday.

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