Are Canada’s dockworkers going back to work?


Port workers in the Canadian province of British Columbia could return to work by Thursday (27 July) after weeks of on-and-off strikes.

Around 7,400 workers at some of Canada’s largest ports went on strike from 1 July, seeking pay rises and job security. After some back n’ forth, it seems they might accept an offer including a 19% pay rise over four years.

And folks across North America will be happy if they do. The strikes:

  • ✊ disrupted more than USD$10B in cargo
  • 🚢 diverted ships to (and congested) ports across the US, and
  • 🔗 disturbed supply chains that’ll take 2-3 months to recover.

Intrigue’s take: Canada, like many others, is wrestling with a couple of issues here. One is inflation: price spikes have eroded real wages, driving workers to demand raises. Inflation now seems to be cooling in Canada.

But the other issue is heating up: automation. 50 international ports are already on that path, and it’s hard to see how much longer Canada’s own ports can hold out.

Also worth noting:

  • According to one World Bank report, the Port of Vancouver is the world’s second least-productive international port.
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