Ferry strike could cut sailings

  • Oct. 20, 2003 3:00 p.m.

BC Ferry Services Inc. is warning that a possible ferry strike could disrupt service as early as the end of the month.
The BC Ferry and Marine Workers Union is currently conducting a strike vote. The collective agreement expires Oct. 31, so the union would be in a position to strike any time after that.
BC Ferries vice-president of communication Mark Stefanson said the company is prepared to negotiate 24 hours a day in an effort to reach an agreement, but said that at this point, a strike is “a real potential”.
The province has designated BC Ferries an essential service. In the event of a strike, the Labour Relations Board will be asked to decide exactly how many runs are essential on each ferry route, Mr. Stefanson said. This will probably be about 50 percent of the normal service levels, he said.
“It will cause some major inconvenience,” he said.
It’s been many years since a strike affected ferry service to the islands. According to BC Ferries, past job actions include a series of rotating strikes in October 1979, a one-day general strike as part of a larger province-wide action on June 1, 1987, and a two-day work stoppage in November 1992 (this only affected the Kwuna and the Queen of Prince Rupert for a few hours).