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ILWU warns of massive job losses with automation of BC terminals

A REPORT commissioned by the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) Canada shows that automation of container terminals could lead to the elimination of more than 9,200 marine terminal jobs across British Columbia

ILWU warns of massive job losses with automation of BC terminals

A REPORT commissioned by the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) Canada shows that automation of container terminals could lead to the elimination of more than 9,200 marine terminal jobs across British Columbia

22 September 2019 - 19:00

A REPORT commissioned by the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) Canada shows that automation of container terminals could lead to the elimination of more than 9,200 marine terminal jobs across British Columbia.

'Like many other sectors, automation is sweeping the marine industry world-wide with steep declines in employment of up to 90 per cent. It's only a matter of time before such automation happens here too,' Rob Ashton, president of the ILWU Canada, said.



ILWU noted that the provincial economy 'stands to take a material hit from income lost in excess of CAD600 million (US$453.3 million) annually, with tax revenues declining more than CAD100 million a year.'



The study forecasts that 11 per cent of middle-income employment (CAD70,000+ per year) and 23 per cent of high-income employment (CAD100,000+ per year) in the community of Delta alone risk being eliminated due to future automation in the marine terminal industry. In Prince Rupert, one quarter of middle-income and two-thirds of high-income employment is at risk of elimination.



'The companies that automate these jobs out of existence stand to benefit. It is equally clear that workers, communities and governments would be left to pick up the pieces after the damage is done,' said Mr Ashton.



To address job loss from automation in the marine terminal and other sectors of the economy, the ILWU Canada is calling on all federal party leaders to commit to modernise Canada's approach to labour market adjustment, reports Rotterdam's World Maritime News.



The union is also calling on all governments 'to stop rewarding companies with tax breaks and subsidies when they automate good middle-class jobs out of existence to their exclusive benefit'.



'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,' John O'Grady, founding partner of PRISM Economics and Analysis, added.


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