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

Provincial COVID-19 data can now be used for B.C. to prepare for a second wave

In the past week, B.C. has seen a slight spike in daily test-positive case counts

‘Someone knows something’: a look into Vancouver Island missing persons with interactive map

There are more than three dozen people listed as missing throughout Vancouver Island

Commercial plaza proposed for Rocky Creek and Ludlow intersection

Town Council directed the application proceed for further consideration

Symphony pop-up concerts coming to Saltair

Only 40 tickets available so get them soon if you’re interested

South Wellington Elementary demolition not taking place next school year

Nanaimo Ladysmith Public School trustees vote against razing south-end school in 2020/21

B.C. records 62 new COVID-19 cases, two deaths since Friday

Province has just over 200 active cases

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

We’re asking you to lock arms with us, as we look to better days ahead

Canadians torn on scaling back COVID-19 benefits to save money: poll

Of those surveyed, 78 per cent said they were worried about the size of the deficit

Port Alberni will have a salmon derby on Labour Day after all

Alberni Valley Tyee Club reveals ‘socially distanced’ derby only for Labour Day 2020

‘Trauma equals addiction’ – why some seek solace in illicit substances

Part 2: Many pushed into addiction by ‘toxic stress,’ says White Rock psychologist

Hotel rooms for B.C. homeless too hasty, NDP government told

Businesses forced out, but crime goes down, minister says

Suspicious fire quenched before reaching gunpowder in Nanaimo’s historic Bastion

Probe underway in basement blaze that erupted near where powder stored to fire signature cannons

Duncan model makes quarter finals in ‘Maxim’ magazine contest

Brandee Peart among top one per cent left in competition

Wage subsidy will be extended until December amid post-COVID reopening: Trudeau

Trudeau said the extension will ‘give greater certainty and support to businesses’

Most Read