MUA and ITF stand alongside ILWU Canada dockers in struggle for wage justice and job security

Published: 3 Jul 2023

3 JULY 2023
MUA and ITF stand alongside ILWU Canada dockers in struggle for wage justice and job security

The Maritime Union of Australia has thrown its support behind striking dockworkers in Canada this week and called on one of North America’s largest employer associations, the British Columbia Maritime Employer Association (BCMEA), to return to the bargaining table and act in good faith to finalise a new contract that will deliver wage justice and job security to over 7400 dockworkers on the Canadian coast.


Members of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) on the Canadian west coast went on strike this week after protracted negotiations for a new pay deal were stymied by the employer representatives at BCMEA.


More than C$800 million (AU$905 million) worth of goods make their way through the western ports each day, accounting for about a quarter of Canada's total traded goods flow.


“Like Australian dockworkers, ILWU members in Canada went to work around the clock throughout the entire global pandemic to ensure goods, services, and cargo was available for import and export, including critical food and medical supplies to protect and sustain the community,” said Paddy Crumlin, National Secretary of the MUA and President of the International Transport Workers Federation.


Collective bargaining between the ILWU and the BCMEA has been underway for 6 months to finalise a new industry-wide employment agreement covering waterside workers on the Canadian west coast.


The Union is seeking a fair deal that respects dockworkers, that protects their jobs and respects the jurisdiction of the ILWU, as well as recognition for the hard work and sacrifices that dockworkers made during the pandemic and the extraordinary work that the Longshore Locals did in getting workers out to the terminals during the lockdowns.


The key demands of the Union are:

  1. An end to contracting out of work.
  2. Protection for current and future generations of dockworkers from the devastating impacts of Port Automation.
  3. A fair pay rise that compensates dockworkers for their contribution to the economy and protects them from the impact of record inflation and spiralling cost of living increases.


The MUA and the ITF Dockers Section support the strike action which commenced July 1, 2023 and will mobilise their members to show support and solidarity for their international sisters and brothers on the Canadian west coast.


“We call on the BCMEA to get back to the negotiating table with the ILWU Canada Bargaining Committee and drop their demands for severe concessions that will hurt the dockworkers who deliver the companies’ profits. It is time the BCMEA employers invested in their workforce and respected their hard-working employees with a new pay deal that keeps up with the cost of living and provides the long term job security that ILWU members deserve,” said Mr Crumlin.


Read the letter to ILWU Canada President Rob Ashton from the ITF





Authorised by P Crumlin, Maritime Union of Australia, Sydney