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Vancouver Truckers Get Back-to-Work Bill

VANCOUVER, BC — On Monday afternoon, BC’s provincial government introduced Bill 25, back-to-work legislation that imposes hefty fines for Unifor and any truck driver who continues to strike against Port Metro Vancouver.

Defiant truckers will be fined $400 per day and the union will be fined $10,000 per day and will impose a 90-day cooling-off period on members of Unifor, about 250 container truckers. 

However, the majority of the truckers on strike are non-unionized.

On Friday, Port Metro Vancouver issued a press release saying: “The refusal of container truckers to work with the federal and provincial governments and Port Metro Vancouver to effect real change in the trucking industry is hurting Canadians and impacting our international trade reputation. People are losing their jobs and businesses may go under because truckers insist on negotiations where negotiation is simply not possible.”

But Jerry Dias, national president of Unifor disagrees: “I have called the Minister every day since last Thursday, and she won’t even pick up the phone. We’re prepared to work around the clock to find a sustainable solution, but Minister Raitt would rather pick a fight than find a solution.”

“The Minister is kidding herself if she thinks that the solution is forced-work legislation. Workers will not be forced back to work because the Minister refuses to sit down and have the dialogue required to find a solution,” he added.

Back-to-work legislation is a special law that allows governments, provincial or federal to end ongoing strikes and labor disputes. Such legislation exists because in ’87 the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that it is not a constitutional right to go on strike, and so the government can forcefully end a strike.

It’s used as a last resort, to end ongoing labor disputes when a resolution by other means is not found.

In the case with Port Metro Vancouver, container truckers rejected Vince Ready’s proposal and also a 14-point plan proposed by the federal and provincial government and the port. The strike is estimated to cost more than $800 million every week, but the port’s President and CEO, Robin Silvester says people are starting to come back to work.

“Our terminals are now seeing steadily growing truck activity demonstrating there are truckers who want to work and are willing to service the gateway. We are also continuing with the reforms we have announced to address the concerns that have been raised,” Silvester said.

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