Carriers boycotting Ivaco ordered back to work

TORONTO, (March 19, 2004) — A trucking boycott of Montreal steel company Ivaco has been cut short after the Ontario Superior Court ruled several carriers must continue to haul for the company which is operating under bankruptcy-court protection.

In what the Ontario Trucking Association called an industry first, a group of Ontario and Quebec truckers refused to show up for regular pick-up duties at Ivaco Wednesday, citing overdue payment owed for transportation services.

But yesterday, Justice James Farley ordered three carriers — reportedly Groupe Robert, the Cooney Group, and Best Transfer — to continue supplying services to Ivaco. The judge stated the carriers were still obliged to continue services since the millions of debt owed to the them pre-date Sept. 16, 2003, when the steelmaker filed for bankruptcy protection from creditors. The protection was recently extended to April 2.

The OTA remains extremely concerned with the decision, considering that the three companies targeted by the court order were not under any formal agreement or even commitment to provide services to the Ivaco, the OTA said. The three carriers are now looking at resolving this issue through all legal channels available to them and have accordingly instructed counsel to look at the most appropriate course of action, the OTA says.

“Most carriers realize it could be them next time and they appreciate the risk the carriers have taken under very trying circumstances,” OTA president David Bradley said.

Earlier this week OTA president David Bradley said he wasn’t surprised by the collective boycott, predicting even more in the future. “More and more big companies are resorting to protection under the Companies Creditors’ Arrangement Act,” he said, “so that it appears to have almost become a way of doing business.”

— From Canadian Press

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