LANGLEY, B.C. — Container truckers who are disrupting services at Port Metro Vancouver have been intimidating and harassing other workers to prevent goods from moving through the port, according to two western associations.
The B.C. Trucking Association (BCTA) and Western Canadian Shippers’ Coalition (WCSC), said drivers not participating in the work stoppage were faced with threats and harassment when showing up at various container terminals throughout Metro Vancouver.
The work stoppage is being orchestrated by the United Truckers Association (UTA). While it was billed as a peaceful “education” campaign, Trucknews.com has also heard of drivers being discouraged from serving the port. One fleet manager told Trucknews.com UTA members were at its gate yesterday morning, recording the licence plate numbers of drivers looking to work. Many of those drivers succumbed to the intimidation and went home.
The BCTA says such intimidation tactics contradict the UTA’s stated commitment that drivers who wanted to work would be allowed to do so. The BCTA says at least two truck drivers have even had their brake lines cut over the past two days.
The UTA claims to represent some 1,400 owner/operators, however, Port Metro Vancouver says it has only issued 807 permits to O/Os.
“Exporters have made an effort to understand and communicate with the UTA. In fact, significant progress was made regarding UTA’s main issues – payment for waiting time and expanded terminal hours. However, when UTA demanded $100/hour compensation, we were flabbergasted,” said WCSC chairman Ian May. “Not only is that completely unrealistic, the UTA couldn’t offer any support for the figure and it would make the Vancouver container export business uncompetitive.”
“Some owner/operators have justifiable concerns and want to raise awareness. That’s their right. But many other owner/operators and trucking companies simply want to service their customers. They should be allowed to do that without fear of reprisal,” says Louise Yako, BCTA president and CEO. “It would appear the UTA is more interested in disruption than remedies. We believe there are immediate collaborative solutions to many of the complaints, but without responsible representation from the owner/operators they are unlikely to be implemented.”