MONTREAL, Que. - Other than deciding to study the impact of high fuel prices on Quebec's trucking industry, the Forum of stakeholders in the general-freight trucking industry has yet to do much.It was...
MONTREAL, Que. – Other than deciding to study the impact of high fuel prices on Quebec’s trucking industry, the Forum of stakeholders in the general-freight trucking industry has yet to do much.
It was unable to even layout a timeline for its initial project. Beyond that, it has yet to produce anything concrete towards fulfilling the mandate given it by Bill 135.
Truckers may recall that a round table was struck after Quebec saw province-wide blockades in October 1999. It’s goal: to look at the problems facing Quebec owner/operators.
Its conclusions, made public in February 2000, included the recommendation that a permanent forum be created to encourage dialogue between the major players in the industry.
The Forum was enshrined in law with the adoption of Bill 135 in June 2000. By October, the group’s president, Paul-Emile Thelland, was appointed and on Feb. 13, he delivered his first press conference.
Unfortunately the conference did little more than review the basic philosophy of the Forum.
Thelland explained his group’s strategy this year includes preparing a standardized contract, elaborating a means for arbitrating disputes between O/Os and carriers, as well as launching some sort of mechanism for helping independents with their business needs.
It was obvious, though, that the Forum, despite having had a course of action laid out for it in Bill 135, is still finding its sea legs.
The group is currently made up of three organizations, which represent the O/Os and five carrier groups. (The Forum actually prefers to use the term “freight movers” rather than “O/Os” and “clients” instead of “carriers”.)
On the O/O side, the Centrale des syndicates democratique (CSD), the Confederation des syndicats nationaux (CSN) and the Federation des travailleurs et travailleuses du Quebec (FTQ), all enjoy membership.
These groups may only be included temporarily, mind you. The Commission des Transports du Quebec (CTQ) has apparently not finished its job of doing a head count of O/Os or verified the actual members in good standing of each union.
This information is essential to determine what teams are allowed,under Bill 135, to play at the Forum.”
Thelland believes also the CTQ has not yet had O/Os vote on whether membership in a single association should be made mandatory.
For anyone eager to learn about the color and shape of the building blocks used in constructing the Forum, sorry.
No one from the Forum could answer those types of questions.
For anyone following the ongoing debate over how trucking unions should exist in the province and whether Quebec’s O/Os should be required, by law, to become due-paying members of a single association, sorry.
No one was there who could answer those types of questions.
For anyone who may doubt the reported union membership figures published by the CSN and CSD, the news that unions would have to prove their membership numbers to the CTQ was exciting news indeed.
But again, sorry.
Although Transports Quebec was well represented at the media event, no one from the CTQ was there to answer those types of questions.
This information is basic to determining who are the legitimate representatives of O/Os at the Forum, to say nothing of the notion that one lucky union might find itself in the heady position of collecting dues from as many as 15,000 Quebec O/Os. n