Port Metro Vancouver Truckers Plan Rally Downtown
VANCOUVER, BC — Late on Thursday, the B.C. Federation of Labour issued a call to action in support of Unifor, whose container truckers on strike are faced with back-to-work legislation.
“We are calling for a mass demonstration Friday, March 21st at 12:00 pm noon at Canada Place in downtown Vancouver,” said President Jim Sinclair.
As many as 400 Unifor truck drivers and 1,000 non-unionized truck drivers have been on strike for three weeks, protesting wages, long wait times at the port and rampant undercutting in the industry.
The port has said that their permits may be revoked, meaning the drivers could no longer work at the port and back-to-work legislation, forcing 250 union workers back to work could come as soon as Monday.
"These actions are necessary and are required today to protect the economy, protect jobs for British Columbians and Canadians, and keep goods and services moving across the country," the port and government said in a joint statement Wednesday.
The B.C. Federation of Labour claims that more than 1,000 truck drivers have seen no increase in rates since the last strike nine years ago which lasted six weeks.
“It is outrageous that governments are willing to destroy the livelihoods of these drivers by banning them from working at the port forever. Truckers are simply standing up, legally, for the right to make a decent living," Sinclair said.
“In 2005, there were about 600 drivers on strike, and there was no union. After the strike, we formed a union and rates went from $70 per trip to $120,” Unifor container trucker Harinder Dhillon told Today’s Trucking.
Dhillon has been a container trucker for 14 years.
“There is a solution. It is tried and true. Sit down with Unifor and negotiate a new collective agreement. Pay truckers properly, provide real enforcement of the rates and ensure waiting times are kept to a minimum,” Sinclair said.
The port offered its container truckers a 14-point action plan, meant to resolve their issues and see them back to work.
“The plan ensures truck drivers are paid fair compensation and a quick implementation of pilot measures to help reduce wait times at container terminals and the creation of an industry oversight committee,” BCTA wrote in a statement.
Truck drivers reviewed and rejected the plan.
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