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Efforts to end a bitter, seven-month strike by forestry workers on Vancouver Island hit another impasse as two mediators have pulled out.

Western Forest Products and United Steelworkers Local 1-1973 confirm in separate statements that mediators Vince Ready and Amanda Rogers say they have withdrawn because the two sides are too far apart.

As many as 3,000 Western Forest Products workers and contractors have been off the job since last July.

A release posted by the company says it is “disappointed” the union continues to refuse wage and contract proposals that are superior to those accepted by forestry workers at other B.C. operations.

The union blames the departure of the mediators on the company’s refusal to move off its concessions and change any of its positions.

The mayors of Port McNeill and Campbell River, two Vancouver Island communities hit hard by the ongoing strike, have called on both sides to resolve their differences, while the provincial government has refused to intervene in the dispute.

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