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Hourly pay could be over for Vancouver’s port truckers

VANCOUVER, B.C. - The Vancouver Port Authority plans to replace a year-old interim agreement that includes hourly wages for truckers with a permanent agreement which does away with the pay guarantees....


DEJA VU: This scene from the 1999 truckers' strike at the Port of Vancouver could be repeated this winter due to a renewed dispute over hourly wages.
DEJA VU: This scene from the 1999 truckers' strike at the Port of Vancouver could be repeated this winter due to a renewed dispute over hourly wages.

VANCOUVER, B.C. – The Vancouver Port Authority plans to replace a year-old interim agreement that includes hourly wages for truckers with a permanent agreement which does away with the pay guarantees.

As a result, the port faces the possibility of another significant work stoppage, such as the one that crippled the port in the summer of 1999.

The port authority announced the change of pacts on Nov. 10.

Due to a “diminished requirement for this cumbersome provision,” the authority says the hourly wage provision is no longer needed. Changes to the way the port operates, namely a reservation system, live Internet cameras and improved efficiencies, have relieved a lot of the pressure at the facility.

The changeover came as a surprise to truckers, who were reportedly given a day’s notice of a meeting to discuss the port’s plans.

The new permanent agreement will be for a five-year period, starting Jan. 1 of next year.

Included would be the establishing of minimum insurance coverage rules as well as an included provision that requires the use of Global Positioning Systems to track loads.

“They’re really angry,” Dave Leclare, a unionized trucker, told local media. “They were counting on the (wage-dependent) licenses and they’ve been waiting patiently for a whole year.”

As many as 225 drivers in the B.C.’s Lower Mainland appear willing to refuse to work over the issue.

Many players in the port’s business, including some carriers, seem to want to see the hourly wages remain in place.

As Truck News went to press, trucker’s organizations were planning to hold a meeting to discuss the problem. One of the options could be work stoppages or strikes.

During August of 1999, strike action resulted in the O/O’s winning a $46-hourly wage. The waits before that strike were so bad that drivers would have to get up as early as 4 a.m. in order to get a good spot in the hauling order. Delays of four or five hours were quite common. n


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