A potential intraprovincial ferry strike has been delayed until Tuesday, as the provincial government and the Canadian Merchant Service Guild — which represents ferry captains — have agreed to allow discussions to continue.
The initial deadline for striking was 3:30 p.m. on Friday afternoon.
The provincial government issued a media release at 3:15 p.m., just 15 minutes shy of a potential strike.
"As both parties have agreed to extend the potential start of the strike until Aug. 25, schedules for all of the intraprovincial ferry routes remain unchanged at this time," reads the statement from the provincial government.
A strike would affect five of the province's busiest routes, including the service between Bell Island and Portugal Cove, Fogo Island-Change Islands and Farewell, St. Brendan's and Burnside, Long Island and Pilley's Island, and between Burgeo, Ramea and Grey River.
The strike vote comes as captains are looking for a pay raise after not having received one since their last collective agreement expired in 2012.
"The guild is asking essentially at the bargaining table for the ferry captains to be treated the same as all the other public servants, and the employer has so far declined to do that," Andrew Nielsen., the lawyer representing the group, told CBC News on Thursday.
In a statement later on Thursday afternoon, Steve Crocker, the minister responsible for the human resources secretariat, said negotiations with the union have been stalled over the last number of years as the union challenged a number of issues through the Labour Relations Board and a subsequent appeal through the courts.
Crocker also said in the event of labour disruption, an essential services schedule would be implemented and communicated to passengers. The department's contracted ferry services would not be affected, he added.