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TimberWest, unions reach deal

United Steelworkers Local 1-363 and TimberWest have reached an agreement that will put an end to a year-long strike that's affected more than 350 workers.

United Steelworkers Local 1-363 and TimberWest have reached an agreement that will put an end to a year-long strike that's affected more than 350 workers.

There are few details to the deal, though it does shelve TimberWest's desire to subdivide operations until 2016. Subdividing would see larger sites that may have 100 workers split into smaller working operations.

According to Local 1-363 president Rick Wangler the tentative agreement is in the best interests of both parties. "It's certainly not everything we wanted and it is certainly not everything TimberWest wanted either," he said. "Considering the current economics and the length of this dispute, we believe it is in the best interests of all the parties to get this dispute over with and get on with getting our members back to work."

It is expected to take a few weeks to get the agreement ratified by the membership. The dispute affected 350 members of Local 1-363 in Courtenay and Local 1-80 in Duncan.

Wangler said some loggers could be heading back to work almost immediately. "It won't be right away but that is mostly because of the weather but on the south Island they could be back to work as soon as they can find a contractor to run the operation."