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Mediators Leave Talks Between WFP and USW

The chances of ending the strike at Western Forest Products would seem to be bleak.

The mediators in talks between Western Forest Products and the Steelworkers Union have now left the table.

Vince Ready and Amanda Rogers say they pulled out of the talks because the two sides remain far apart and unwilling to change their positions.

The mediators held separate meetings with the company and union representatives on Sunday and Monday.

Don Demens, President and Chief Executive Officer of Western, says they’re “disappointed that despite previous proposals offering superior wage and contract provisions to what the USW and the forest sector have agreed to throughout British Columbia we have been unable to reach a negotiated settlement.

Demens says they will “continue to explore all options available to bring an end to the prolonged USW strike and have reached out to the Ministry of Labour to seek clarification on the next steps.”

He says they remain committed to reaching a fair and equitable agreement while maintaining the sustainability of the business.

Steelworkers Local 1-1937 issued a statement saying that WFP’s “refusal to move off their concessions and change any of their positions led to the frustration of the mediators and their decision to withdraw.”

Western Forest Products’ workers have been on strike since July 1st of last year.

The more than seven-month strike involves three-thousand workers at Western’s sawmill and timberland operations.

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