The Western Forest Products mills in Cowichan Bay and Ladysmith are still not in operation after the lengthy strike ended earlier this month, with the company citing log supplies and markets as the main reasons. (File photo)

Pair of Western Forest Products mills remain idle after exhausting strike

WFP claims log supply, markets to blame for continued idling at Ladysmith and Cowichan Bay

The strike at Western Forest Products may be over, but many of its employees in the Cowichan Valley are still waiting to go back to work.

The WFP sawmill in Chemainus began operations on Feb. 20, just a few days after workers ratified their new collective agreement, but the mills in Cowichan Bay and Ladysmith, which employ hundreds of workers, have yet to reopen.

RELATED STORY: COWICHAN WORKERS OPTIMISTIC, BUT CAUTIOUS, OVER DEAL TO END STRIKE AT WFP

Babita Khunkhun, a spokeswoman for WFP, said the forest company is currently ramping up and resuming operations after the almost eight-month strike at all its mills based on a number of factors which vary by operation, including log supply and customer orders that need to be filled.

“We will continue to monitor log supply and market conditions to determine when operations will resume at Cowichan Bay [and Ladysmith],” she said.

“But we don’t have a date set at this time.”

About 3,000 employees and contractors at WFP facilities in several Vancouver Island communities had been off the job since July 1.

RELATED STORY: STRIKING FORESTRY WORKERS TAKE TO THE STREETS IN DUNCAN

In a vote held on Feb. 15, 81 per cent of the workers, members of the United Steel Workers Local 1-1937, voted in favour of ratifying the tentative agreement with the company.

The agreement included a 12.5 per cent increase in wages in two- and three-per cent increments over five years, increased premiums for those with first aid, a safety boot allowance and changes to policies on shift work.

It also included zero concessions, a long-standing demand of the union during the labour dispute.

The new five-year collective agreement is retroactive to June 15, 2019.

Workers have been without a contract since June 14, 2019.



robert.barron@cowichanvalleycitizen.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Labour

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Celebrating 50 years of Rotary in action

The Rotary Club of Ladysmith was formed September 20, 1970

Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Sept. 27 to Oct. 3

World Farm Animals Day, Drink Beer Day and Virus Appreciation Day are all coming up this week

Paul Manly reacts to Liberal throne speech

Manly says the Liberals need to back up their promises with action

Island Savings closes Ladysmith branch

Ladysmith branch members can be served by the Chemainus branch

New Chemainus development offers prime building lots in a diverse neighbourhood

Beachwood Estates officially opens with interest already high due to its location

QUIZ: Do you know what’s on TV?

Fall is normally the time when new television shows are released

Canadian ski resorts wrestle with pandemic-vs.-profit dilemma as COVID-19 persists

Few are actually restricting the total number of skiers they allow on the hill

Victoria-area RCMP locate high-risk sex offender thanks to help of taxi cab driver

Scott Jones wanted on a Canada-wide warrant, ‘a risk to women and girls,’ police say

A (virtual) walk around the world by 88-year-old B.C. man

George Doi says it’s simple: ‘I like walking’

End of CERB means uncertainty for some, new system for others

As of a week ago, the CERB had paid out $79.3 billion to 8.8 million people

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Horgan, Wilkinson trade barbs over MSP premiums, health care at campaign stops

Horgan called a snap election for Oct. 24 earlier this week

Most Read