VICTORIA, B.C. — The strike is officially over.
Truckers and government officials reached a deal Wednesday to end a 28-day long strike, that left hundreds of millions of dollars worth of cargo grounded at Vancouver container terminals.
“This agreement means our port is open for business starting tomorrow morning,” said B.C. Premier Christy Clark. “We had to sit down and look at each other in the eyes and realize we weren’t that far apart.”
The truckers were supposed to hold a news conference to respond to the back-to-work legislation tabled on Monday but the event was repeatedly postponed.
Officials with Unifor, (which represents close to 250 unionized truckers), and the United Truckers’ Association of B.C., (which represents more than 1,000 non-union workers), spent hours deliberating with B.C. government staff.
“This is by far the most complicated set of negotiations I’ve ever been involved on,” Unifor’s national president, Jerry Dias. “What changed today was the willingness to listen. The key thing was the desire to find resolve.”
Dias criticized the federal government for fighting the truckers instead of listening to them. If left in Ottawa’s hands claimed Dias, Vancouver’s port would be closed as soon as tomorrow.
The dispute focused on issues related to pay, including rates, unpaid time spent waiting for cargo, and allegations of undercutting.
Port Metro Vancouver released a statement Wednesday, before the deal was formally announced, claiming the 14-point plan was the best way to end the strike saying it was “good for truckers.”