VANCOUVER, B.C. – Vincent Ready has released his recommendations in light of the strike by container truck drivers working out of Port Metro Vancouver.
Ready was appointed to mediate the situation by the federal and B.C. provincial governments as part of their Joint Action Plan (JAP) to end the labour stoppage by the unionized members of Unifor-Vancouver Container Truckers’ Association (VCTA) and by the non-unionized owner/operators who belong to the United Truckers Alliance (UTA).
In releasing his recommendations, Ready acknowledged just how complicated the situation is at the port, and how difficult it will be to implement fixes.
“We make the recommendations acknowledging that some of the commitments made will have to be implemented in the shadow of Marine Act requirements and law suits. That said, it is our view that immediate action must be taken with respect to wait times. To date, drivers have not been compensated for wait times and in our opinion, it is necessary to provide recommendations to assist in facilitating such compensation,” he wrote.
Ready provided a formula for paying drivers for wait times, and established that the fee must be forwarded to drivers, and not retained by the trucking companies.
“Port Metro Vancouver will establish a mechanism for directing the Terminal Gate Efficiency Fee (i.e. Waiting Time Fee) to be paid to the trucking companies who will be required to pass the fee on to independent owner operators. Starting seven days after a return to work, the Terminal Gate Efficiency Fee (i.e. Waiting Time Fee) shall be paid at $50 per trip for time spent waiting at Port terminals (Deltaport, Fraser Surrey Docks, Vanterm, Centerm) after ninety minutes of waiting time. At two hours of waiting time, an additional $25 fee will be paid per trip. At two and half hours of waiting time, an additional $25 fee will be paid per trip. Each additional half hour will be paid at a rate of $20.”
He also compiled a list of where the drivers need to be located at each terminal before the wait time calculations kick in.
Ready looked at the issue of trucks lacking GPS technology that can be used to track locations and wait times.
“We acknowledge that PMV has worked hard to expedite the GPS program and we understand that it is PMV’s intention to have all trucks fitted with electronic monitoring devices in early July, 2014. That said, it is clear to us that as each day passes without a mechanism for tracking wait times, the issue respecting how to gather, enforce and pay the wait times for those trucks which do not have GPS devices becomes more and more complex.”
To address that issue, he said the port needs to create a manual mechanism for tracking wait times, and that must happen before May 28. He also suggests that method remain in place until all trucks accessing the port are equipped with GPS units.
Ready is also requiring that until the new system is established on May 28, drivers are paid for every trip they make.
“For the period from April 3rd—May 27th, owner/operators and company drivers paid on a per trip basis (together referenced as “per trip drivers”) that have the GPS installed in the truck are paid for all wait times according to the JAP (in terms of location, time and fee schedule). In order to facilitate this payment, we recommend that PMV invoice the terminals for those amounts immediately (prior to May 31, 2014) and that the terminals provide funds to the per trip drivers prior to Monday, June 16, 2014.
“We recommend that the terminals provide such funds to the per trip drivers through the trucking companies prior to this date and that the trucking companies pay the entire amount provided by the terminals to the per trip drivers with GPS upon receipt of such funds from the terminals.”
He also made provisions for paying GPS-less drivers before the formal mechanism is put in place.
“For the period from April 3rd—May 27th, owner/operators and per trip company drivers (again, together referenced at “per trip drivers”) that do not have GPS data are asked to provide interchange as well as other supporting documentation (such as per trip driver log books or personal electronic data) through a process to be decided upon and announced by PMV on or before Monday, May 26, 2014. We recommend that PMV announce that the data is to be submitted through this centralized process no later than Friday, June 13, 2014 at 5pm. This manual data will then be analyzed by PMV and cross referenced to the GPS data known by PMV to determine waiting time fees owing. It is recommended that given that a manual mechanism was not established in the time period directed, that the analysis of the data will be based on the available driver and port data on any given date and that minor discrepancies shall be resolved by way of the honour system and reasonable fees paid to the per trip truck drivers.”
He added “[w]e strongly suggest that PMV provide payment to the trucking companies prior to Friday, June 27, 2014 and that the trucking companies pay the entire amount provided by PMV to the per trip drivers without GPS upon receipt of such funds.”
Ready stated in no-uncertain terms that drivers should be paid for their time, and that there should be serious consequences if that doesn’t happen.
“Any non-payment of the waiting time fee to per trip drivers pursuant to these recommendations will not be tolerated. The per trip drivers should be advised that any failure to pay in accordance with the terms above can be reported via the Whistleblower Policy (draft currently in progress). We also recommend that the Province of British Columbia verify through the current audit program that the above wait time fee payments are processed and paid. It is our opinion that non-compliance should be met with serious repercussions, including penalties and/or license suspensions.”
He did, however, make one series of exceptions when it came to paying for wait times.
“We recommend that wait times relating to double ended moves and events beyond the control of the terminals (weather related events, power interruptions, and terminal operating system outages) be exempt from the wait time calculations,” at least until such time as those issues have been further studied and solutions can be put in place to address those situations.
Responding to Ready’s recommendations, federal minster of transport Lisa Raitt, and Todd Stone, British B.C’s minister of transportation and infrastructure issued a joint statement expressing their appreciation for the recommendations.
“Mr. Ready has submitted recommendations to Transport Canada officials, which will be acted upon quickly. These recommendations allow for wait times to be measured and truckers to be compensated accordingly, consistent with the Joint Action Plan.
“It doesn’t end here. Discussions on further steps to implement the Joint Action Plan and on long-term solutions for stable and efficient trucking operations at Canada’s busiest port will continue. We are confident all parties will continue to work together to achieve long-term stability at the port.”
A Unifor spokesperson also issued a statement on behalf of its members.
“This announcement clears the way for wait time payments to start flowing freely to truck drivers despite the efforts of some groups to obstruct the plan for stability,” said Gavin McGarrigle, Unifor’s BC area director.
“We believe this announcement should send a strong message to all stakeholders that the Joint Action Plan will be fully implemented and that stability is preferred to chaos. It’s time for those opposing this plan to get with the program and realize that the days of undercutting and downloading costs onto drivers are over.”
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