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Court orders halt to picket lines at Esquimalt Graving Dock

Tugboat operators, on strike at Seaspan, had set up picket line at graving dock; unionized workers would not cross
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Victoria Shipyards operates at the federally owned Esquimalt Graving Dock. Via Seaspan

Victoria Shipyards unionized workers were back on the job Monday after pickets came down at the Esquimalt Graving Dock following an order from the B.C. Supreme Court on the weekend.

An estimated 800 union members did not work on Thursday or Friday after striking members of the Canadian Marine Services Guild put up pickets at the entrance to the graving dock, where Victoria Shipyards rents space from the federal government and carries out its work.

Members of the 10 unions working for Victoria Shipyards did not cross the picket line.

Victoria Shipyards is owned by Seaspan, which employs tugboat operators who belong to the guild. Seaspan also owns Vancouver Shipyards and Vancouver Drydock.

Tugboat operators have been without a contract since 2019. On Aug. 15, they announced they were taking strike action.

After pickets went up at the graving dock, Victoria Shipyards went to the Supreme Court seeking an order barring picketing at entrances to the facility. The court granted that request.

The graving dock is rented out to other companies as well and has its own federal staff on site.

cjwilson@timescolonist.com

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