Tuesday, December 22, 2015

BC Ferries, Marine Workers Ink 5-Year Contract

By Mark Edward Nero

BC Ferries, the service provider responsible for ferry service along coastal British Columbia, has ratified a new five-year contract with the BC Ferry & Marine Workers Union, both sides said Dec. 18.

The settlement took several months of extensive negotiations between the company and union representatives. Although the agreement was just ratified, it was reached in principle before the Oct. 31 expiration of the previous collective agreement. The union’s Provincial Executive and Ships’ Officers’ Component Executive endorsed the tentative agreement for ratification by the membership on Nov. 10.

“This is an historical vote,” union Provincial President Graeme Johnston said. “For only the fourth time in our union’s history has an agreement been reached without the intervention of a third party and before the expiration date of the contract.”

The terms of the new agreement are in place from Oct. 31, 2015 through Oct. 31, 2020. The agreement provides for 8.55 percent in wage increases over the five-year term of agreement, an average of 1.71 percent annually.

“The five-year agreement provides for fair and modest wage and benefit increases for our employees while continuing to provide an efficient and dependable service,” BC Ferries’ President and CEO Mike Corrigan said. “We thank the bargaining teams on both sides for their collaborative efforts.”

BC Ferry & Marine Workers’ Union is the largest marine union in Canada, representing more than 3,600 members from across 35 vessels, 47 ports of call and numerous other job sites. Its membership includes a diverse group of trades, ships officers, commercial services drivers and both ship and shore workers.