Container truck drivers are balking at new rates set by the provincial government

Port truckers angry with rates eye new strike

Container truck drivers to get less pay than expected under new reforms: Unifor

Container truckers voted unanimously Sunday to take strike action again if needed in response to the imposition of what they say are lower-than-promised rates to haul goods in and out of Port Metro Vancouver terminals.

Union and non-union truckers met Sunday in Surrey to discuss their next steps after talks Friday with Port Metro Vancouver’s CEO.

Truckers staged a 28-day strike last March that ended on government promises to reform the rate structure to halt rampant undercutting and stabilize the industry.

The province passed legislation in October to set minimum rates but only revealed them Dec. 15.

“They didn’t live up to their end of the bargain,” said Paul Johal, president of the Vancouver container truckers local of Unifor. “It was supposed to put money in our pockets but they’re taking money away from us.”

He estimates the shortfall on rates will add up to $50 a day less for employee drivers and $150 to $200 less for owner-operators.

Johal said truckers want a new meeting with federal and provincial government representatives to address their issues.

“If nothing happens we’re going to look at another shutdown – that’s the only choice we have left.”

Gavin McGarrigle, B.C. area director for Unifor, said both union and non-union drivers are “very disappointed” with the rates and said the province has effectively created new rate classes not previously envisioned with the effect of lower overall pay.

“We don’t want to go on strike but a deal is a deal,” McGarrigle said, noting Unifor members are still in a legal strike position.

The rate structure is complex, with different amounts for employee drivers versus owner-operators, options of paying per trip or per hour, minimum callout rates and rates for “off dock” movement of containers between points other than terminals.

Another concern is a new Port Metro Vancouver rule that as of 2019 only trucks less than 10 years old can access container terminals.

McGarrigle said federal officials have promised to review that change, which he said would be “punitive and discriminatory” because truckers would be forced to buy new vehicles more often.

Other changes made by the port and province are to bring a new licence system and reduce the number of trucks allowed to serve port terminals.

But McGarrigle said the new rate structure is the key sticking point, predicting it will mean continued industry instability.

Provincial government officials could not be reached for comment.

A transportation ministry release said the rate structure will provide “fair wages” for truckers to halt undercutting and delivers other improvements.

“It is a complicated situation and it has been hard to find a solution that pleases everyone,” it said.

Port Metro Vancouver spokesman John Parkert-Jervis said the port is proceeding to implement the new licence system.

“Planned reforms to the container trucking sector that serves Port Metro Vancouver are designed to bring stability to the port and a level of sophistication not seen in other ports,” he said.

Just Posted

Semis catch fire at Bradner-area wrecker off Highway 1 in Abbotsford

Crews called to scene at around 2 p.m., finding up to six semis that had caught fire at the wrecker

Abbotsford group meets to kick off local Green New Deal talks

Organizer says climate movement started small locally, but hopes to expand moving forward

City of Abbotsford organizing renewed homelessness forum

Local forum in June to come after regional forum fell out due to snowy weather in February

Up-front price tag for new Abbotsford/Mission water source rises

Consultants suggest shifting $7 million in costs from project’s second stage

Abbotsford’s newest public art unveiled in historic downtown

Mural adorns back of Hemingway’s Books on Montrose Avenue

Police say it’s “impressive” no arrests were made after Raptors celebrations

Toronto will play the Western Conference champion Golden State Warriors next

Social media giants in hot seat as politicians consider regulations in Ottawa

Committee members will also grill representatives from Facebook, Twitter

Wildfire crews watching for dangerous wind shift in High Level, Alta.

The Chuckegg Creek fire is raging out of control about three kilometres southwest of the town

UN urges Canada to take more vulnerable Mexican migrants from Central America

The request comes as the United States takes a harder line on its Mexican border

B.C. VIEWS: Money-laundering melodrama made for TV

Public inquiry staged to point fingers before 2021 election

Canadian homebuyers escaping high housing costs by moving to secondary cities

In British Columbia, exurbs have grown in the Hope Valley and Kamloops

Feds lay out proposed new rules for voice, video recorders in locomotives

Transport Canada wants to limit use of recorders to if a crew’s actions led to a crash

Raptors beat Bucks 100-94 to advance to franchise’s first-ever NBA Finals

Leonard has 27 points, 17 boards to lead Toronto past Milwaukee

Most Read