Canada port employer requests CIRB urgent intervention ahead of Monday strike

FILE PHOTO: A container ship makes its way into the Port of Vancouver past vessels at anchor in English Bay

TORONTO (Reuters) - A maritime employers association of British Columbia on Canada's west coast has asked for the industrial relations board to intervene to prevent a strike called by a union representing ship and dock foremen on Monday.

The BC Maritime Employers Association (BCMEA) said in a statement on Sunday that it wants the Canada Industrial Relations Board (CIRB) to declare proposals and strike action of International Longshore and Warehouse Union Ship and Dock Foremen Local 514 (ILWU Local 514) as contrary to the Canada Labour Code.

BCMEA late on Friday said the ILWU Local 514 had served a notice of intended strike action against employer DP World Canada that will begin on Monday.

"We hope this matter will be resolved expeditiously at the CIRB. However, in the event that the CIRB allows the strike to proceed, the BCMEA believes it has no choice but to take defensive action in the form of an industry-wide lockout," BCMEA said on Sunday.

A coastwide lockout could potentially shut down all cargo operations of BCMEA Member companies across the province, but will not affect cruise operations nor interrupt longshoring operations on grain vessels, it said.

The BCMEA said the notice on Friday came despite the CIRB commencing hearings this week to address complaints between it and the union.

ILWU Local 514 could not be immediately reached for a comment.

Federal Minister of Labour Seamus O'Regan said on Saturday mediators were working with the parties to help them reach a deal, and "the best deals are made at the bargaining table."

(Reporting by Nivedita Balu in Toronto; Editing by Aurora Ellis)