Canada hires mediator to end dockworkers’ strike in British Columbia Ship’s crew

By Derek Decloet (Bloomberg) —

Canadian Labor Minister Seamus O’Regan said negotiators had made progress toward an agreement to end a dockworkers’ strike in some of Canada’s busiest ports and that he had asked a mediator to broker a final agreement.

The strike, which began July 1, has blocked the flow of goods through key Pacific Coast shipping hubs, including the Port of Vancouver and the Port of Prince Rupert. The disruption has already hampered exports of raw materials and inbound shipments of production materials, while fertilizer giant Nutrien Ltd. the case is restriction of production in a potash mine.

“After 11 days of work stoppage, I have come to the conclusion that the difference between the positions of the employer and the union is insufficient to justify another work stoppage,” O’Regan said in a Twitter post. An agreement is within reach and he has asked the lead federal mediator to send a written proposal outlining the terms of the settlement within 24 hours, he said.

Once the Minister receives the terms of the settlement, he will forward them to the International Longshore & Warehouse Union and the British Columbia Maritime Employers Association, who will then have 24 hours to decide whether to recommend this deal to their members.

Lobby group Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters estimates the strike will affect trade by CA$500 million (US$379 million) per day, but the impact of a prolonged port closure would be felt globally. Canada is the world’s largest potash producer and British Columbia is poised for an important season for food exports.

A survey by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business released Tuesday found about half of business owners said the strike would affect their operations. Vancouver is also an important hub for importing consumer goods from Asia.

(updates with CFIB survey data)

© 2023 Bloomberg LP

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