B.C. labour minister ‘disappointed’ as talks collapse again in forestry strike
By The Canadian Press
VICTORIA (CP) – British Columbia Labour Minister Harry Bains is not ready to step into a long-running strike at Western Forest Products but he says he’s willing to meet with both sides.
Bains made the comment Wednesday, one day after the company announced that a round of talks with United Steelworkers Local 1-1937 had collapsed and negotiations had reached an impasse.
In a statement on its website, Western Forest Products says no future mediation dates are scheduled.
Bains says failure of the latest mediated session is disappointing and he’s arranging to meet with the company and the union to discuss how to find a solution.
About 3,000 Western Forest Products employees on Vancouver Island have been on strike since July 1.
A union statement posted on Facebook says shift schedules and concession demands remain key issues, and union officials intend to hold closed-door sessions with members in five cities over the coming days to discuss the situation.
Speaking at the legislature, Bains echoed comments made last week by Premier John Horgan that a negotiated collective agreement is the best way to resolve the strike.
“I will be clear to both parties that this dispute is placing an unacceptable burden on coastal forestry communities, and I will strongly recommend to both that they return to the table and get a deal done,” Bains said.
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