Continuing Port of Vancouver strike risks losing Canadian Hyundai sales, says Victoria dealership

Continuing Port of Vancouver strike risks losing Canadian Hyundai sales, says Victoria dealership

Update: On Wednesday evening, the union representing longshore workers in British Columbia rescinded a 72-hour strike notice that it had posted earlier in the day, prompting concerns the province’s ports could be shut down again by Saturday.

The original story can be read below:

Port of Vancouver workers who were on strike briefly Wednesday morning were forced to take down their signs after their work stoppage was declared illegal because they hadn’t provided 72-hour notice.

Their union is appealing the decision, but they have every intention of walking picket lines again Saturday after shooting down a deal proposed by a mediator, which included a proposed 19.2 per cent increase in wages over four years.

In Victoria, John Kot says Hyundai has hundreds of millions of dollars tied up in the Port of Vancouver, being the only port able to handle electric vehicles.

“For Hyundai alone, they have 15,000 cars sitting at the port waiting to be delivered,” said Kot. “They keep building the cars, and so if we can’t get this port issue sorted out then we could lose Canada production for those auto dealers.”

It’s estimated the original 13-day strike disrupted $9.7-billion in trade, has prevented 60,000 containers from coming into ports, and could balloon to a quarter of a billion more if the strike now extends to the end of July.

“My patience has run out,” said Omar Alghabra, the federal Minister of Transportation, hinting at intervention early Wednesday morning.

Meanwhile, the Conservative Party leader turned up the heat on the Liberals to find a solution.

“Justin Trudeau must do his job and end this strike because of the cost to businesses and Canadians,” said Pierre Pollievre. “We’re calling on him to deliver a plan to end this strike in the next 24 hours.”

The federal government could make moves to legislate them back to work, something this government has done twice before. B.C. Premier David Eby made it clear that he didn’t support that from Campbell River on Wednesday.

“I can’t help but feel that whatever is separating these parties is not worth this disruption. They’ve got to sort it out at the table as soon as possible,” said Eby.

This current 72-hour strike stall buys Ottawa and the potential for possible negotiations some much-needed time—something businesses on Vancouver Island say, is wearing out.

“It could really turn into something much worse if we don’t figure it out soon,” said Kot.

Kori SidawayKori Sidaway

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