Canadian port strike talks resume, supported by federal mediators


TORONTO (Reuters) – Talks in Pacific Canada between striking dock workers and their employers have resumed after four days away from the negotiation table, a statement on Saturday by the British Columbia Maritime Employers Association (BCMEA) showed.

The BCMEA and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union Canada (ILWU Canada) met on Saturday, supported by federal mediators, the statement said. The talks had stalled on Tuesday and the two sides broke off negotiations.

Some 7,500 port workers went on strike on July 1 for higher wages, upending operations at the Port of Vancouver and Port of Prince Rupert – key gateways for exporting the country’s natural resources and commodities as well as for bringing in raw materials.

Canada’s federal and provincial governments had urged the parties to restart talks, while on Saturday Alberta Premier Danielle Smith in a statement said her province supports an immediate recall of parliament to consider legislation to resolve the work stoppage.

BCMEA said it tabled a revised proposal to resolve skilled trades shortages and address ILWU Canada’s demand to expand their jurisdiction over regular maintenance work on terminals, which was rejected by ILWU Canada.

ILWU Canada did not immediately reply to a request for comment. The union is due to hold a rally on Sunday in Vancouver.

The Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters (CM&E) industry body said the strike is disrupting C$500 million ($377 million) in trade every day. That could lead to supply-chain disruptions that fuel inflation, economists say.

($1 = 1.3271 Canadian dollars)

(Reporting by Fergal Smith; Editing by Mark Porter)

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