Workers on the coast say the blockade began after night negotiations between their unions and associations representing ports, but failed to reach an agreement before 8 am.
The last round of negotiations began on Wednesday, less than 24 hours before a block statement issued by BK. The Association of Maritime Employers (BCMEA) was due to enter into force.
The talks continued overnight, but without an agreement of up to 8 hours, 6,500 members of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILVU) were locked. port operations other than cruise ships or grain terminals.
At least 40 workers in front of BCMEA dispatch center in Vancouver began to put signs on cars while the deadline was closer. They started walking and circling around the building after the deadline came and went, but would not comment on the situation as if the media lag in the negotiations was in place.
BCMEA spokeswoman Lauren Chan confirmed that the blockade began, but the negotiators are still at the negotiating table.
Trade union members who negotiated 890 West Pender St. in Vancouver, they went on a periodical break all night, but did not comment on whether they were close to reaching an agreement.
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BCMEA said a disruption in BC ports could cost the Canadian economy about $ 5 billion a day. The B.C. shipyard chamber, which represents ships carrying cargo to and from Canada, says that the recovery after the blockade is over is also expensive.
"We estimate that it takes a month to recover from each lost week due to work-related disruption, so it's enormous in the entire Canadian economy," said Chamber President Robert Levis-Manning, speaking on the phone after the blockade began.
"As the days are running, or when we start to play after the solution is found, there may be less impact on retail costs," he added.
Many employees in the wheelchair wore sweatshirts with coats of arms at the door.
One worker, Al, sat in a chair and looked crude as he waited for the news Thursday morning. He refused to give his last name, but said he was a 51-year-old worker and believed that a blockade would occur due to automation issues.
"It does not matter to me, I am an old man, but the future," he said, stopping and shaking his head.
The union said the blockade would close "the entire industry of ships on the west coast," hitting the Vancouver harbor and around 20 other facilities throughout the country. whose workers are ILVU members.
Jeff Scott, chairman of the BCMEA committee, said employers are seeking mediation and are open to more negotiations.
Port workers began a limited-run work on Monday, which included a ban on overtime work at two Vancouver and Delta terminals after parties withdrew from a negotiating table after weekend talks.
Ashton said that the union is striving "in a fair language in a collective agreement on automation" to ensure the protection of jobs.
BCMEA claims that automation has already been addressed in the collective agreement and that moving to automated ports is necessary to retain jobs in Canada.
The union voted more than 98 percent for a strike strike earlier this month.