In a significant development after nearly two weeks of disruption caused by the Canada port strike, employers and workers involved in the labour dispute on the west coast of British Columbia have reached a tentative deal.
The strike, which has paralysed shipping operations at over 30 ports, including the Port of Vancouver, the largest port in Canada, since July 1, is now on the path to resolution. The BC Maritime Employers Association announced on Thursday that it had reached a tentative agreement with the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, a crucial step forward in ending the strike.
The breakthrough comes following federal Labour Minister Seamus O’Regan’s intervention earlier this week. O’Regan directed a mediator to propose potential settlement terms, deeming the impasse in negotiations unacceptable for a continued work stoppage.
Taking to Twitter, O’Regan declared that “the strike is over” upon news of the tentative deal. Both parties are currently finalising the specific details for resuming operations at the affected ports.
It is important to note that the four-year agreement still requires ratification from both sides, and specific details have yet to be disclosed.
The strike has garnered significant attention, with business groups and provincial governments urging the federal government to intervene due to the detrimental impact on trade and commerce.
According to the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade, as of Wednesday, approximately 63,000 shipping containers remained stranded on vessels awaiting unloading at ports in British Columbia.
While we are pleased to see this positive development, it will take some time for normal cargo operations to restore and for the economy to recover fully. This is the longest strike we have had in nearly 40 years on the waterfront, and it follows a period of great instability for our supply chains.
The 13-day strike has had a significant impact on Canada’s west coast ports and Canadian economy, disrupting an estimated $9.7 billion (£5.6b) in trade, as reported by the Board of Trade’s Port Shutdown Calculator estimation tool as of this morning. The consequences of the strike have been felt across various industries nationwide and will continue for some time.Greater Vancouver Board of Trade President and CEO, Bridgitte Anderson