British Columbia Workers Strike Impacting Cannabis Supply Chain

Cannabis operators in British Columbia, Canada are bracing for supply disruptions this week after the BC General Employees’ Union went on strike over wage disputes.

Full story after the jump.

Workers in British Columbia, Canada went on strike this week, the Canadian Press reports. The British Columbia General Employees’ Union (BCGEU), which represents about 33,000 public-service workers across the province, set up picket lines at four BC Liquor Distribution Branch (BCLDB) wholesale and distribution centers on Monday.  

While retail cannabis and liquor stores are not part of the strike, which is over wages, the cannabis division of the Burnaby customer care center is part of the action and, in response, the BCLDB said its cannabis distribution center will not ship products, assemble orders, or process orders, and BC cannabis operators are bracing for disruption in supply. 

In a statement, the BCLDB said it “recognizes the current job action…may be concerning to wholesale and retail customers.” On its website, it apologized for any “impact” on businesses. 

“We do not know the extent of any future job action and therefore cannot speculate on the inventory levels held by wholesale customers nor customer demand and buying behaviors in this dynamic environment.” — BCLDB in a statement 

Omar Khan, the senior vice-president of corporate and public affairs for High Tide Inc., told the Press that the company is reallocating inventory from other stores in other provinces as they try to manage the situation but could still face “inventory issues.”  

“We urge the BCLDB and the BCGEU to resolve their dispute as soon as possible,” he told the Press, “as lack of inventory at licensed cannabis stores risks driving consumers back into the hands of the illicit market, which will endanger public health and drive much-needed revenue away from government coffers.” 

Last month, cannabis workers with the Syndicat Canadien de la Fonction Publique (SCFP), which is affiliated with the Fédération des Travailleurs et Travailleuses du Québec (FTQ), the largest trade union in Quebec, announced an indefinite strike. Mediation negotiations in that row began last week. 

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