Truckers Protest Rate Cuts at Vancouver Ports
November 30, 2010, 10:45 AM EST
A convoy of 400 truckers travelled across bridges, tunnels and highways throughout the Vancouver lower mainland on November 27 to protest constant undercutting of rates as a result of inaction by Port Metro Vancouver.
The Vancouver Container Truckers Association (VCTA-CAW Local 2006) were protesting the ports failure to seriously enforce minimum rates and the imposition of new fees and restrictions. The truckers also want the provincial and federal governments to step in to ensure rate stability.
A rally was also held where BC Federation of Labour President Jim Sinclair addressed the truckers before they departed in a convoy.
CAW National Representative Gavin McGarrigle said the rally and convoy were intended to avoid the necessity of a repeat of the work stoppage in 2005, when a massive withdrawal of service by drivers protesting working conditions and cuts to rates disrupted Vancouver port operations for weeks.
"It's a tough environment, with many of the truckers being owners-operators who pay for their own trucks, maintain them, and pay for fuel. So when more and more costs are added and when rates are not stable there is a lot of frustration and concern," McGarrigle said.
He said the VCTA-CAW Local 2006 wants more transparency that ensures the ports reveal which companies are undercutting industry rates and who are suspended - so that it's clear to everyone which companies are following the rules.
"If the truckers concerns aren't dealt with, there will come a breaking point, and strike action has not been ruled out" said McGarrigle.