VANCOUVER, B.C. — A plan created with the intention of getting striking container truck drivers back to work at Port Metro Vancouver has failed to convince truckers to halt their strike.
A proposal offered by the federal government, the B.C. provincial government and Port Metro Vancouver, the 14-point Joint Action Plan, promised drivers that if they returned to work, they would be consulted on changes to the port’s trucking licensing system, they would be offered mediation assistance to aid in the collective bargaining process with port-based employers, that regulated trip rates would increase 10% within the month, and that drivers would be paid the fuel surcharge.
But those promises rang hollow for members of Unifor-Vancouver Container Truckers’ Association (VCTA) and the United Truckers Association (UTA), who rejected the back-to-work call.
VCTA issued a statement saying the proposal didn’t address the right issues.
“After meeting with representatives of the port and the provincial and federal governments, container truck drivers say that basic concerns about minimum rates for all drivers have still not been addressed.
“Truck drivers have been raising concerns that long line-ups and wait times at the Port of Vancouver are costing truck drivers money and that rates agreed to in previous contract negotiations were not being honoured due to under-cutting.”
A spokesperson for the union explained why the drivers couldn’t respond in the manner government and port officials expected.
“We’re prepared to negotiate around the clock to end this dispute,” said Gavin McGarrigle, Unifor’s BC Area Director. “We’ve been trying for eight years to resolve these issues, and a negotiated agreement is the only sustainable solution. After that length of time, the port’s ‘trust us’ approach simply isn’t enough for our members.”
According to the UTA, a dialogue between parties on both sides of the work stoppage is still ongoing.
“UTA & UNIFOR organized a meeting to discuss the 14 points released earlier. After a detailed discussion both parties disagree and where dissatisfied with the points. Both teams have replied to the authorities with a conditional counteroffer to return to work. Now we wait for the authorities to reply back.
“So as of now the job action continues as is. UTA thanks all the membership for the unity and support. We have to make it right this time no matter how long it takes.”