THE British Columbia Maritime Employers Association (BCMEA) staged a less-than-three-hour lockout to bring the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) to an agreement, ending the threat of an immediate shutdown of ports of Vancouver, Prince Rupert and several other secondary harbours on Canada's west coast.
The union voted more than 98 per cent in favour of a strike mandate earlier this month.
The lockout began after the workers' union and the association representing port employers failed to reach a deal by the 8am lockout deadline, having talked all night, reported the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.
The lockout ended just before 10.45am after a tentative deal was reached, according to a release from the ILWU, which contained no details, but only said further information would only come once members voted on it.
Talks continued through the night but without an agreement by deadline, the 6,500 members of the union found themselves locked out at all BC port operations except cruise ship or grain terminals.
Dozens of workers camped out outside the BCMEA dispatch centre in Vancouver started putting on their picket signs as the deadline ticked closer. They began walking and circling the building once the top of the hour came and went, but wouldn't comment on the situation as a media blackout on the negotiations remained in effect.
The blackout meant key players at the table also could not comment on which sticking points were preventing a deal.
BCMEA president Mike Leonard said the agreement was "fair and balanced and hard-earned by both parties".