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Trade News

Each day TFO Canada publishes a sample of trade news on the Canadian import market along with any new, updated or changed regulations and legislations regarding international trade; countries in which TFO Canada offers services and on the export sectors which it promotes.


Vancouver Port Truckers Hold Off on Strike Threat for Now

Monday, January 19, 2015 > 09:50:00

(Business in Vancouver – Jen St. Denis)

Vancouver-area container truckers will hold off on any labour action for two weeks following a January 15 meeting between the truckers and B.C. government, said the head of one union that represents some of the truckers.

The United Truckers Association, Teamsters and Unifor were all present at the meeting, which lasted two hours, said Jerry Dias, president of Unifor.

“Ultimately we didn’t come to any final decisions yesterday,” Dias said. “The government asked for two weeks to get back to us to give a final position. We were hoping for some more concrete answers.”

Container truckers, who service Metro Vancouver ports, went on strike for one month in March 2014 to protest persistent undercutting, low wages and long wait times at terminals which they said were cutting into their pay.

The labour action effectively shut down Vancouver-area shipping terminals, causing considerable economic pain to British Columbia businesses that depend on importing and exporting.

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

According to that agreement, the provincial government was supposed to increase trip rates by 10% in one month’s time, as well as strengthen enforcement of rate payment and expand terminal operating hours.

Unifor says a new fee structure introduced by the province on December 15 does not match the recommendations Ready put forward.

Trucking companies can now choose whether to pay their workers by the hour or by the trip. It all works out to potentially less money for truckers, Gavin McGarrigle, B.C. director for Unifor, told Business in Vancouver on December 16.

“For the hourly drivers who are supposed to be earning $26.28 an hour, that’s about $210 a day. This new trip rate they’ve come out with is $40 a trip with a minimum of $160,” McGarrigle said.

“So if you’re a trucking company owner and you have a company driver that moves four containers a day for eight hours, are you going to pay them $210 or are you going to pay them $160? So that’s $50 a day they could be losing.”

The provincial government has stated that the new rules are “informed by” Ready’s report.

“You’ve got some Ma and Pa truck owners that are showing the provincial and federal government the middle finger, and the government frankly doesn’t have the guts to deal with them,” Dias said.

Dias said truckers are also angry about a new requirement from Port Metro Vancouver that trucks be no more than 10 years old. The port authority has said this requirement will improve environmental performance.

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.

Business in Vancouver asked for an interview from B.C.’s Ministry of Transportation and from the British Columbia Trucking Association, which represents trucking companies, but did not receive a response.

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