Labour negotiations between the International Longshore and Warehouse Union and the British Columbia Maritime Employers Association have seemingly not made much in the way of progress over the course of recent discussions through mediation which started in late March.
And with things at somewhat of a standstill, the ILWU has taken the next step of calling for a Strike Vote, set for this Friday and Saturday for its membership up and down the British Columbia Coast.
A vote count that will hear from their over 7,000 member strong membership a significant number of whom work at port facilities along the Prince Rupert waterfront.
The notice to the membership was issued earlier this week and comes in the midst of a 'cooling off' period from the recent series of mediation sessions.
Should the membership approve Strike Action, or the employer decide to lock out its workers, nothing wold take place until June 24th at the earliest.
After that date, the option of a strike or lock out could come with 72 hour notice.
As we outlined earlier this year, the two sides entered into mediation with Two Federal Mediators tasked with trying two find some common ground for both labour and management.
The two major issues of the discussions to date reportedly have involved both monetary compensation in wages and the issue of automaton at Canada's shipping ports.
Neither side has said much on the state of negotiations since they entered the mediation process back in March.
The labour negotiations have been taking place during a period of declining container shipments through Prince Rupert, which have seen the DP World facility operating at a significantly lower level of transits compared to a year ago.
Other cargo movements through the port however have seen stronger results for the first quarter of 2023.
Industry observes have observed on some of the concerns that they have over the prospect of any extensive labour disruption to the nation's supply chain and the impact it could have on other industries and resources nationwide.
Also of concern is the prospect of any long term impact towards future shipments for BC terminals once the labour issues come to some sense of resolution. That as shippers begin to seek out alternative destinations towards transiting their cargoes should the situation continue to escalate.
Some helpful backgrounders to some of the issues and the path of the negotiations to date for the dispute come from maritime industry publications .
More of our notes related to Labour in Prince Rupert can be explored here.
A look at the industrial footprint in Prince Rupert that could be impacted by the dispute can be explored here.