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Canadian west coast dockers: Port automation will eliminate 9,200 jobs

A REPORT by Canada's International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) has concluded that automating British Columbia's ports without government intervention will result in heavy job losses and a big loss of tax revenue

Canadian west coast dockers: Port automation will eliminate 9,200 jobs

A REPORT by Canada's International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) has concluded that automating British Columbia's ports without government intervention will result in heavy job losses and a big loss of tax revenue

03 September 2019 - 19:00

A REPORT by Canada's International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) has concluded that automating British Columbia's ports without government intervention will result in heavy job losses and a big loss of tax revenue.

According to ILWU president Rob Ashton, automation at BC ports could axe 9,200 jobs and cost the provincial economy C$600 million (US$451.47 million) annually.



On top of that would be a loss to BC taxpayers of C$100 million for government programmes, reported the Bowen Island Undercurrent, a suburb off West Vancouver,.



'If you start automating more terminals, the damage could be catastrophic,' Mr Ashton told a news conference.



He said if foreign companies enter the Canadian market and create imbalances in port employment and the ill effects of that are felt within the surrounding communities, it is the federal government's responsibility to redress that imbalance.



Prism Economics and Analysis prepared the report, and its partner John O'Grady said: 'Disruption on this scale will be felt by the provincial economy and will have an acute effect in some local communities, particularly those that rely on this industry for good jobs and the economic benefits they bring locally.'



The report, which focussed only on the container sector of port operations, surmised that automation could eliminate significant numbers of high-income jobs in marine-dependant communities.



The report said longshore employment accounts for 26 per cent of all jobs paying more than C$70,000 a year in Prince Rupert. In Delta, the number is 11 per cent and two per cent in Vancouver.



Further, it said, such jobs account for 66 per cent of all jobs paying more than C$100,000 a year in Prince Rupert. In Delta, the number is 23 per cent and three per cent in Vancouver.


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