War on the Waterfront
A message from Terry Engler, President ILWU, Local 400:
ILWU Local 400 is a strong supporter of the Pacific Gateway. We believe that we can have the safest Marine Industry in the world by working with Industry and Government regulators for our mutual benefit. We believe that the work of the Expert Panel on Tanker Safety has been positive. We also believe that the best way to grow our industry and the Pacific Gateway is to have a World Class Tanker Safety system in BC, but the actions of Seaspan ULC to lock out our members on June 9, 2014 by imposing a Collective Agreement that we believe lowers safety and increases fatigue will harm our industry and the Pacific Gateway.
Seaspan is demanding 46 major concessions including destroying our Industry Benefit Plan, cutting pension contributions and demanding workplace flexibility that will increase fatigue and we believe make the Marine Industry less safe. ILWU Local 400’s negotiating committee has a package of proposals as well but we are willing to accept the regular industry wage increases and simply roll over our collective agreement for a number of years, the term to be determined by the parties because we believe that this is in the best interests of our industry and the Pacific Gateway.
Seaspan’s position is that they need these concessions to compete with Ledcor but Ledcor has the ability in their Collective Agreement with CLAC to lower conditions virtually at the whim of the Company. This will result in lower and less safe conditions throughout the industry. Ledcor will still hold a competitive advantage and it will be much more difficult to convince the people of BC that the Marine Industry is capable of safely increasing traffic in our Pacific Gateway.
ILWU Local 400 is intent on seeking allies to resolve this issue but Seaspan’s latest statement that they will lock out our members by imposing a Collective Agreement on June 9, 2014 leaves us little or no time before we will have no choice but to take this issue public, which will harm our industry and the Gateway.