(Reuters) – A bargaining agreement will soon be within reach to end a dispute between striking Canadian dock workers and their employers, Labour Minister Seamus O’Regan said on Tuesday.

About 7,500 port workers have been on strike since July 1 to press for higher wages, disrupting operations at the key ports of Vancouver and Prince Rupert, at a cost to trade estimated by an industry body to run into $377 million each day.

“As a result of the hard work by the parties at the bargaining table, there is a good deal within reach – one that would work for both the employer and the union,” O’Regan said in a statement posted on Twitter.

The talks between the British Columbia Maritime Employers Association (BCMEA) and Warehouse Union Canada (ILWU Canada) had resumed last week after a gap of four days, supported by federal mediators.

The differences between the employers and unions was not sufficient to justify continued stoppage of work, O’Regan said, adding that he had asked the senior federal mediator for a written recommendation of the settlement terms within 24 hours.

Upon receiving them, he will send them to the parties, with a deadline of 24 hours to decide on ratification, he added.


The ports play a crucial role in export of Canada’s natural resources and commodities, besides receiving shipments of raw materials.

The strike is disrupting trade worth C$500 million ($377 million) each day, industry body the Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters (CM&E) has said. Economists warn that could lead to supply-chain disruptions, fuelling inflation.

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