Strike action shuts down operations at Roberts Bank's Westshore coal terminal

Strike closes coal terminal

Strike action at Westshore Terminals’ coal export facility at Roberts Bank in Tsawwassen has shut down operations, port officials confirmed Monday.

According to Westshore, the company was served with a 72-hour strike notice from the International Longshore and Warehouse Union’s Local 502 chapter on Sept. 13. As the deadline passed without both sides resolving their issues, Westshore confirmed that a work stoppage started at midnight Friday.

“The work stoppage will result in a complete suspension of operations at the terminal,” Westshore said in a statement. Estimates put the people taking part in the job action at up to 200.

The two sides had been negotiating since October 2021, and Westshore says they remain in contact with union representatives despite a breakdown in talks. The previous collective bargaining agreement between Westshore and Local 502 – along with two other agreements with other ILWU chapters – expired on Jan. 31.

This is the first deal of the three to enter re-negotiation, and Westshore said conciliation/mediation was used under the Federal Labour Code starting March 29 due to the nature of the talks as it progressed since last October.

The Westshore coal terminal at Roberts bank – which processes about 33 million tonnes of coal every year – is among the busiest such facilities in Canada and the west coast of North America. It handles coal produced in B.C. and Alberta as well as U.S. states such as Montana and Wyoming.

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