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Unionized workers at Irving Shipyard vote overwhelmingly in favour of strike mandate

Vote comes after both sides spent less than four days at the bargaining table last month
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Irving Shipyard (Meghan Groff/HalifaxToday.ca)

HALIFAX - Some unionized workers at the Irving Shipyard voted 99 per cent in favour of giving their bargaining team a strike mandate.

This comes after over 700 members of the union turned out Sunday afternoon for an update on talks with the Canadian shipbuilding company.

Unifor MWF Local 1 issued a statement to members, saying they were disappointed in Irving's decision to request conciliation "after less than four days at the bargaining table last month" and went on to accuse their employer of issuing "misleading and concerning statements in media interviews, news releases and in a letter to employees".

Irving released a statement Nov. 23, saying that it had offered the Union two proposals, but added it became clear an outside third party was needed if discussions are to continue.

"We are disappointed that we were unable to move bargaining forward through mutual discussions." Irving said in November's statement. "We are hopeful that an outside party can assist in restarting negotiations, as we believe a negotiated agreement is the best option for the Halifax Shipyard and our shipbuilders." 

The current agreement in place expires at the end of the this month and despite the strike mandate, the union said it will continue to respect the bargaining process and upcoming conciliation, and will not be speaking publicly or bargaining in the media.

"The bargaining team remains optimistic that the conciliator with be able convince the employer that a confrontational and concessionary approach is not the best way to reach a tentative agreement."

Unifor says they represent 800 members working at the Halifax Shipyard, which are involved in all aspects of shipbuilding, including everything from metal fabricators to electricians.


Chris Halef

About the Author: Chris Halef

Chris is a reporter for HalifaxToday.ca and NEWS 95.7. In 2018, he won the RTDNA Dave Rogers Award for best short feature.
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