06/22/2011 09:03 EDT | Updated 08/22/2011 05:12 EDT

Finning International Strike: 700 Stop Work At World's Largest Caterpillar Dealer


THE CANADIAN PRESS -- VANCOUVER - About 700 employees of Caterpillar equipment dealer Finning International Inc. (TSX:FTT) are on strike at the company's British Columbia locations.

Finning and the union say the strike by members of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, Local 692 began at 4 p.m. PDT.

The workers include mechanics, parts department staff and support personnel who repair heavy equipment for the mining, forestry, and construction industries.

The company said equipment and parts sales will continue, but shop and field services will be unavailable. It said it has a contingency plan to minimize the impact on customers.

Unionized workers at Finning's operations in Alberta and the Northwest Territories operate under a separate collective agreement and are not on strike.

Finning said it has applied for mediation and that the union has declined.

The union said the dispute is over wages, benefits, shifts, and sub-contracting.

Vancouver-based Finning is the world's largest Caterpillar dealer, and sells, rents and services equipment and engines. It has operations in Canada, South America and Europe.