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Vancouver Truckers’ Strike Hits Businesses

VANCOUVER — Port Metro Vancouver’s customers are starting to feel the pinch of the ongoing strike by over 1,000 container truckers demanding better wages and shorter wait times at terminals.

“The impact of truckers walking off the job is in the order of about $885 million per week,” said Port Metro Vancouver President and CEO Robin Silvester. “Goods are not moving and that is bad news for consumers and businesses.”

The port’s container truckers make $15.59 an hour, much less than the B.C. average wage for a trucker of $23 an hour, said Unifor, a union that represents 300 truckers.

Silvester commented: “We agree that truckers should be paid a fair wage, but bargaining relating to employment and contract relationships can only be done with the employer or the parties to the contract. Port Metro Vancouver is not the employer and is not party to the contract relationships.”

The strike is stretching into the third week and may go on even longer since there are over 180 different trucking companies operating out of the port, each making separate agreements with hundreds of suppliers and the private operators of each terminal.

Meanwhile, the port’s customers are getting hit with hefty fines and their shipments can’t get past the port’s gates. (The port’s customers are paying $350 per day for storage). And of course Vancouverites may soon see the price of goods go up.

What’s more, local wine merchants and distillers can’t get their goods out of the port and say that unless the strike ends soon, local drinkers will need to find alternative social lubricants, according to Metro.  

Some are recalling a similar dispute in 2005, which lasted 47 days.

“If you had a dark container on top of the pile, then a lot of your wine and beer got cooked,” said Robert Simpson, general manager at Liberty Wine Merchants, the largest chain of private wine stores in Western Canada.

Simpson has two containers held up at the port and is considering moving them by rail to a location from where he can then move them by truck to warehouses for inspection, then to stores. Otherwise, he’ll have to place additional orders and get them delivered through ports in the US.

“I am sympathetic with the truckers,” he said. “I know for a fact they spend hours down at the port waiting to get their load. It shouldn’t take half a day to take one container and drive it to Annacis Island, that’s crazy.”

Trucking operations at the port are now about 10 to 20 percent of their usual levels, Peter Xotta, the port’s vice-president of planning and operations told the Globe and Mail. Last Friday, Xotta said container terminals saw trucks handle 700 containers on a day when 3,500 pickups and deliveries would normally have been made.

He also said he has heard of shippers diverting containers that were destined for Vancouver to other ports, but he won’t know how many containers are being diverted until the port collects statistics for the period.

As much as $885-million in cargo passes through the port weekly, half of which is carried by trucks. Port Metro Vancouver was in court Tuesday to request an injunction to forbid independent truckers from protesting on port lands.

 

 
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Filed Under: trucking Western Canada Vancouver Port Metro Vancouver strike transportation drivers labor dispute
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Carol

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The fed and bc gov. did a very good thing ending the strike and should get the support of the ports and the shippers for ending the strike

Lisa

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We need to set rates to the tractor that reflect the true cost of $1.15 per km plus insurance and waiting time at 85cents per minute

John

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Trucking companies and insurance companies need to work together to make it so drivers do not have to cheat on their log then can no longer drive truck

tom webster

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The gov. should thanked for ending the strike not be sued by companies trying to pay drivers less money than other people at the port

Anonymous

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I'm very much pro union, and I find it hilarious when certain people say: If you don't like the rates, then leave. I'm sorry, but people like you make me sick. In unions, employees are generally protected. Where A Will Employment can allow a person be fired for wearing green when the boss hates the color green. Yeah, it's that simple. I may not be in a union job, but I wish I was. Maybe then I wouldn't deal with companies that paid low wages, refused to compensate for overtime, and provide crappy benefits.

truckerdave1970

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The American truckers should take notice of this! II CAN BE DONE!!! We can force America to their knees if we stick together and refuse to drive under the current conditions and pay. How long are we going to be called "professionals", yet being paid like "amateurs", and being treated like "convicts"???

Anonymous

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These particular drivers are guilty of undercutting. They drove the rates down to where they are today and now that they forced all the other drivers out, they are crying the rates are too low. I am all for paying a good wage to people, but what about the people that lost their jobs to these guys? These drivers are not directly employed by the port so they have no right to picket the port as if they are. If you don't want to work for the rates that exist, don't work.... and don't cry about those low rates if you are the cause for them being so low.

ken webster

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Many truckers in Ont. and ex truckers( because poor working conditions) would like to protest in front of port and certain warehouse in On.The fed gov. needs to set the trucking rates in Canada then they can order the drivers back to work and set up office in each province to listen to truck owners of ( less than 4 trucks) and truck driver complaints of improper pay

stephen webster

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The gov. has been told last 8 years that trucking rates were too low to pay truck drivers a good wage.( A wage that would keep people driving truck and not take other jobs.) Many truck drivers came in from other parts of the world as they were told that there was shortage of truck drivers.Many of the more skilled people drove truck for one to 3 years and then did something else or went back home.In 2006 and in 2007 the C.T.A. was told that speed reg. and log books were enforced that truck driver pay would need to go up and truck drivers should make a min of $18.00 to $21.00 per hour plus overtime. The ports should not be able to charge storage on the containers while the protest is on

stephen webster

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The gov. has been told last 8 years that trucking rates were too low to pay truck drivers a good wage.( A wage that would keep people driving truck and not take other jobs.) Many truck drivers came in from other parts of the world as they were told that there was shortage of truck drivers.Many of the more skilled people drove truck for one to 3 years and then did something else or went back home.In 2006 and in 2007 the C.T.A. was told that speed reg. and log books were enforced that truck driver pay would need to go up and truck drivers should make a min of $18.00 to $21.00 per hour plus overtime. The ports should not be able to charge storage on the containers while the protest is on

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