BC port strike enters fourth day

A union representing BC port workers has extended their long weekend until further notice. 

What happened: A strike affecting BC ports has entered its fourth day and could potentially impact the flow of goods from the province’s coast—worth about $800 million every day. 

  • About 7,400 port workers who load and unload cargo are asking for limitations on contract work and automation, plus a pay bump to reflect the rising cost of living.

  • The Port of Vancouver’s plans to build a $3.5 billion, semi-automated port terminal have become a central issue, sparking concerns among workers over job security. 

Why it matters: One estimate from the Canadian Chamber of Commerce projects that the disruption caused by a week-long strike could cost the country as much as $5.5 billion. 

  • BC government officials, including Premier David Eby, have also warned that major supply chain disruptions could further inflate the cost of goods across the country.

Zoom out: Back in 2021, the federal government passed legislation to force 1,125 workers at the Port of Montréal back to work after a 12-day strike, citing the threat to supply chains. 

  • In a statement shared with The Peak, the Chamber of Commerce called on the feds to “immediately recall Parliament” to pass legislation to bring the workers back.

  • Meanwhile, the workers’ union told business groups to butt out, saying that if the government intervened, there would “never be labour peace on the waterfront.” 
Bottom line: The high cost of the strike has created urgency to reach a resolution quickly, but coming to an agreement—especially around limiting automation—won’t be easy.—LA