The BC Labour Relations Board has held that an employer in the Coastal forest industry dispute can engage a replacement contractor to perform work previously done by a contractor whose employees are on strike.
Helifor Canada performs helicopter logging operations from six camps. Helifor’s unionized employees perform the work at three of the camps, while unionized employees of Tantalus, a contractor, perform the work at two of the camps.
The employees of both Helifor and Tantalus are currently on strike. Helifor has continued logging operations at the two camps normally staffed by Tantalus employees by hiring a different, non-union contractor.
The union representing Helifor’s employees applied to the Board for a declaration that Helifor breached the replacement worker provisions of the Labour Relations Code by engaging the other contractor to perform the work normally done by Tantalus employees.
The Board accepted Helifor’s argument that the replacement worker provisions do not apply, since the work being done by the new contractor was not work which would otherwise be done by Helifor’s employees. The union’s subsequent application to the Board for reconsideration of its decision has been denied.