(Vancouver) Hundreds of people gathered in Vancouver on Sunday for a rally to support striking BC port workers as their labor action enters its second week.

Representatives of union groups as far apart as Australia and New Zealand have spoken out in favor of the strikers, who continue to demand better wages amid rising costs of living and protection from what they see it as an overuse of contractors for maintenance work.

About 7,400 workers at more than 30 ports in British Columbia have been on strike since Canada Day over wages and provisions for maintenance work, contracting out and automation.

The vice-president of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) Canada, told the crowd that the collective agreement states “very clearly” that anything related to the movement of goods on docks or ships falls under the jurisdiction of the union, but he says those powers have been eroded over the years as more and more contractors are brought in who have “nothing to do with our business”.

Bolen said that while the union cannot prevent port automation, it is up to union members to make repairs if the devices break down.

The British Columbia Maritime Employers Association has accused the union of trying to “aggressively expand” its control of maintenance duties far beyond what the association claims has been established for decades.

The two sides were back at the negotiating table on Saturday, with the support of federal mediators, after talks stalled on Monday.