WATCH: Dozens of Port Metro Vancouver truckers and their families rallied in Surrey, to protest the imminent loss of their jobs. They say it stems from a new licensing system they claim will mean up to 600 truckers out of business. Julia Foy reports.
UPDATE: Following rallies held last week, Port Metro Vancouver truckers and their families will be holding another rally this morning. Demonstrators and their supporters are set to show up at the Highway 91 pullout at 10 a.m.
Every year, around 165 companies receive port licenses from Port Metro Vancouver through a yearly application process.
This year, that number is 68 – and it’s left about 600 drivers without jobs, and with plenty of questions.
“It was like somebody throwing a bomb on your head. Out of nowhere in the sky, someone says we’re pulling the powerplug from you,” said Raj Sidhu, one of the many who lost their license at a rally in Surrey today.
“Some of them have worked at the Port for 28 years, and they’re wondering why suddenly their licenses are not being renewed,” said NDP MP Jinny Sims, one of two NDP MPs who attended the rally. “They were so happy last year when the premier of the province did this photo op and said we have these deal with the truckers.”
READ MORE: Port Metro Vancouver and striking unionized truckers reached a new deal in March 2014 after a month-long strike
“After you’ve worked for an employer for 18 to 26 years, and you don’t get any clear answers of why you’ve been let go…people are very very worried.”
On Wednesday truckers drove down Highway 91 en masse to symbolize their displeasure. So far Port Metro Vancouver hasn’t explained why many long-time license holders aren’t being welcomed back this year, aside from announcement in October that they were launching a new licensing system to reduce “intense competition”.
Those affected are hoping for answers.
“I was doing pretty good, looking after my family. But they shattered my dreams. I don’t know what to do,” said Baljinder Singh Gill.