The death of a Teck Coal employee at Elkview Operations on Sunday is under investigation. File photo

Teck braces for strike action at export terminal

The company didn’t say whether a strike would impact mining operations

The union representing workers at a shipping terminal Teck exports coal from has issued a 72-hour notice it intends to strike on Dec. 19, but the company has not said whether it could impact mining operations.

International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) Local 502 announced it would commence strike against against Westshore Terminal Ltd in Vancouver in Dec. 19, “commencing at or about 1400 hours” on Dec. 16.

The union represents workers at the coal export terminal at Roberts Bank, south of Vancouver, and has been in negotiations with Westshore Terminals for several months over a new collective agreement.

The strike on Dec. 19, if it goes ahead, will see the complete suspension of operations.

Teck coal exports product mined in the Elk Valley through the terminal, and said on Thursday that it was monitoring the situation closely.

“We are assessing potential impacts and preparing mitigation strategies if a strike at Westshore does proceed, which includes the ability to ship additional capacity through Neptune Terminals (North Vancouver) and Ridley Terminals (Prince Rupert),” said a company spokesman.

“We are hopeful that a fair and reasonable settlement for both parties will be reached as quickly as possible and it is our understanding that further talks are scheduled between Westshore and ILWU Local 502.”

They did not say if there would be any potential disruption to mining activity at any of the company’s four steel-making coal mines in the Elk Valley, only that the company still had coal at the terminal and were continuing to load vessels “as normal” as of Dec. 17.

Teck has recently been benefiting from tensions between Australia and China, giving the Canadian miner the opportunity to capitalize on increased Chinese interest in British Columbian coal.

READ MORE: Teck sees more interest from Chinese steelmaking coal buyers

READ MORE: Numbers rise at Teck operations: IH declares outbreak



scott.tibballs@thefreepress.ca
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