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

Ladysmith designer donates her time to make free face masks and gowns

Nikki MacCallum works three days a week on masks and gowns, and three days on her regular business

Nanaimo school district to develop learning plan to account for COVID-19

Nanaimo-Ladysmith school district superintendent advises parents keep kids at home

LDCU offers no interest loans for members in need

Existing members can borrow up to $5,000 interest free

Sweet treat helps make Chemainus Health Care Centre workers feel complete

Girl Guide cookies always in good taste when showing appreciation

Social media a blessing and a curse during time of crisis: B.C. communication expert

‘In moments of crisis, fear is very real and palpable,’ says SFU’s Peter Chow-White

‘We will get through this’: B.C. sees new COVID-19 death, but 57% have recovered

A total of 1,066 people have tested positive for the novel coronavirus

Ongoing list of Ladysmith COVID-19 cancellations and closures

Everything in Ladysmith that has been impacted by COVID-19

Couple celebrates 61st anniversary through Vancouver Island seniors’ home window

Frank and Rena Phillips marked occasion at Nanaimo Seniors Village this week while social distancing

A look at some of the B.C. inventors creating life-saving tools in fight against COVID-19

Groups across B.C. are working together to create what they hope will help people affected by the pandemic

Association launches French-language games, online tools for families learning at home

Games, culture and vocabulary included in new virtual resources

‘There can be no ambiguity’: Travellers brought home to B.C. must self-isolate

Health Minister Adrian Dix said the mandatory isolation must be abided by

Belle from ‘Beauty and the Beast’ entertains home-bound kids in Cowichan Bay

Alora Killam, 16, played the part in musical two years ago

55+ BC Games cancelled amid COVID-19 concerns

Greater Victoria set to host 2021 event

BC Hydro offers three-month bill ‘holiday’ for those affected by COVID-19

Industrial customers can defer half of their power bills

Most Read