VANCOUVER – After a tense 28 day labour dispute ended in March, unionized truckers are threatening another strike at Port Metro Vancouver.
The truckers claim the province and the federal governments have not delivered on a promise to crack down on companies undercutting minimum pay rates, even though the port says it’s taking action.
“Truckers are frustrated and rightfully so,” said Gavin McGarrigle with Unifor, the union representing the truckers. “We’re doing our best to keep a lid on the situation but if you’re made a promise by both levels of government and it hasn’t come through in the time frame that they promised, I think anyone would be upset by that.”
McGarrigle said as a result of the government not delivering on their promise, some of the companies that are not paying their drivers properly, are trying to steal customers from the ones who are paying properly.
The port has introduced a whistleblower line and GPS systems to monitor wait times and already a million dollars in wait time fines have been levied, but truckers say the rates are still an issue without legislation that was supposed to be in place by the end of April.
“Yeah they have a whistlerblower line,” said McGarrigle, “but you can only whistleblow if you’re actually violating something and as I said, they haven’t made that binding yet and they need to do that as soon as possible. And they need to kick some of these unscrupulous companies right out of the industry for once and for all.”
The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure said in a statement that the province remains at the table and working with all parties to implement the Joint Action Plan.
“I would like to thank the United Truckers’ Association and all other truckers for their patience and restraint,” said their spokesperson. “The issues that need to be resolved are very complex and hard work remains. Vince Ready and Corinn Bell will be working with all stakeholders over the summer in order to reach long-term stability, competitiveness and equality for truckers.”
The Ministry said they have done “great work on 12 of the 14 Joint Action Plan commitments” and are working with the federal government to resolve the remaining issues.
“I continue to encourage all parties to work together, as the risk to the economy is too great if these complex issues are not resolved,” said their spokesperson.
– With files from Darlene Heidemann
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