The strike action at Westshore Terminals’ coal export facility at Roberts Bank in Delta, British Columbia has ended after workers and the company reached a tentative six-year agreement.
According to a statement from Westshore, the deal was reached with Local 502 of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) and will last through Jan. 31, 2028. While the deal is still subject to a ratification vote by the union’s members later this month, Westshore reports that workers returned on Oct. 9.
The announcement ends a strike lasting about three weeks, which shut down operations at Roberts Bank’s chief coal terminal. The strike, along with below-expectations second-half performance of rail carrier BNSF – which carries coal from the United States to the Port of Vancouver – dropped Westshore’s estimated throughput volume this year from 27.5 million tonnes to about 25 million tonnes, the company said.
There remains the potential of further labour unrest. The negotiation with ILWU Local 502 was the first of three to be completed by Westshore this year. Currently, ILWU 514 and 517 are still awaiting scheduling for their negotiations with the company.
Roughly 200 people took part in ILWU 502’s strike. The talks had been ongoing since October 2021, although the last deal expired on Jan. 31 of this year.
The Westshore coal terminal at Roberts Bank – which typically processes about 33 million tonnes of coal a year – is among the busiest such facilities in Canada and along the west coast of North America. It handles coal produced in B.C. and Alberta as well as in U.S. states such as Montana and Wyoming.
(This article first appeared in Business in Vancouver)