Unifor strike threat puts Metro’s ports on notice

METRO VANCOUVER — Port container truckers are warning they could to go on a second strike in less than a year over claims that the promises ending the first work stoppage have never been met.

Unifor national president Jerry Dias, whose union represents 300 container truckers in Metro Vancouver, said the undercutting of industry-wide rates by companies not abiding to the terms of the agreement is once again threatening labour peace.

"So they’re showing both the provincial and federal governments their middle fingers and the government doesn’t have the guts to do anything about it," said Dias.

The undercutting of rates also puts honest companies at an unfair competitive disadvantage, further putting truckers at risk added Dias.

"You can’t meet with all of the stakeholders, agree and celebrate that we have now stabilized the industry by establishing a floor for rates to make sure that there’s no undercutting and then do nothing to implement it," he said.

Container truckers serving Metro ports in Delta, Surrey, Vancouver, and North Vancouver, went on strike for one month in February and March 2014 to protest undercutting, low wages and long wait times at terminals.

The strike came to an end after the province, the federal government, Port Metro Vancouver and the union representing truckers negotiated an agreement with the help of labour mediator Vince Ready.

The provincial government agreed to increase trip rates by 10 per cent within one month of labour peace, strengthen rates enforcement and expand terminal operating hours to reduce wait times.

But Unifor claims that a new fee structure introduced by the province in December under the Container Trucking Act offers trucking companies the choice to pay their drivers hourly or by a flat rate, which Dias said will cost drivers $1,000 a month.

In a statement released by the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, the new legislation will establish a rate structure that ensures truckers are paid fairly for their work.

"We believe this is the right starting point – allowing the Lower Mainland’s container trucking industry to move forward to ensure the continued efficient operation and global competitiveness of Port Metro Vancouver, which is critical to a robust provincial and national economy," reads the statement.

The ministry said it recognizes that truckers have identified some areas where they would like to see the regulation changed, and will look at those items over the next couple of weeks.

The ministry also intends to appoint a new, independent container trucking commissioner to provide oversight to the industry. The commissioner would be responsible for future rate setting, oversight of the audit and enforcement function and future licensing. He or she would also be directed to engage with labour and industry leaders through a committee to inform future decisions impacting the stability and competitiveness of the sector, according to the ministry.

Meanwhile over the next two weeks Dias said he would be meeting with B.C.’s transportation minister, Todd Stone, and federal transport minister Lisa Raitt to avert another strike.

The union president added the situation could be remedied if the province would simply crack down on trucking companies not living up to the terms of the 2014 agreement.

"This isn’t very complicated. All you need to do is pull the license of three or four or five of them and watch what happens."

amacnair@thenownewspaper.com

Just Posted

‘Speed dating’ all-candidates meeting in Surrey zeroes in on homelessness and housing

Candidates mingle with residents at tables with various topics, in 10-minute intervals

Partial lane closures for Port Mann Tuesday, Wednesday nights

Drivers can expect delays during maintenance work: Mainroad

Surrey man drops one-kilo brick of cocaine as cops arrest him outside his house

Amanpreet Singh Gill serving two years less a day for possessing cocaine for purpose of trafficking

North Delta library featuring local artist in new exhibit

Internationally-renowned artist Jarnail Singh will have his art on display until Nov. 22

South Surrey pet blessing event to be held Sunday

All animals welcome to be blessed by Peninsula United Church

VIDEO: More cameras, police coming after Marissa Shen killed in Burnaby park

B.C. privacy watchdog worries that the cameras are a ‘slow creep’ to a surveillance state

Rattie scores 3 as Oilers blank Canucks 6-0

Vancouver slips to 1-5 in exhibition play

Veterans Affairs ordered to take second look before supporting vets’ relatives

Liberal government ordered officials to adopt a more critical eye

Dead B.C. motorcyclist was member of group that raced down mountain road

Some group members record their rides on Strathcona Parkway and post times to page

Indigenous athletes in spotlight at BC Sports Hall of Fame

New gallery to feature Carey Price, Kaila Mussel and Richard Peter

B.C. couple who went missing on flight from Edmonton named by family

Family released a statement Wednesday saying they’re still intent on finding the two-seater plane

Abbotsford raccoon dies from injuries suffered in a trap

Wildlife protection group offering $1,000 reward for information about incident

VIDEO: A close look at what you were breathing during the B.C. wildfire season

Electron microscope images show soot and tar particles generated by worst B.C. fire season

B.C. woman donates $250,000 to ovarian cancer research for friends

Two of Patty Pitts’s friends passed away from the disease within a year

Most Read