VANCOUVER, BC — Container truck drivers at several Metro Vancouver trucking companies have voted to ratify collective agreements with Unifor today after several days of around-the-clock bargaining, according to an announcement from the union.
Companies with new collective agreements include AG, Aheer, Forward, Prudential, and Sunlover.
“These collective agreements are a major step forward for the sector’s drivers,” said Gavin McGarrigle, Unifor’s BC area director. “Unifor drivers have a major advantage with fair rates and working conditions with this deal.”
Roughly 75% of truck drivers represented by Unifor have now ratified a collective agreement that won’t expire until July 2019.
The new deal ensures that all outstanding retro pay will be paid out to drivers within 30 days, improves rates for Canadian National Railway and Canadian Pacific Railway moves, and fixes the pay chart for “off dock” moves, according to Unifor. In addition to job security protections and better dispatching language, companies will also start contributing toward a benefit plan for both owner-operators and company drivers.
Container truckers shut down Port Metro Vancouver for nearly four weeks in March 2014 as a result of wage undercutting by trucking companies and long wait times at the port. Truckers went back to work after a plan was signed with the truckers, the port, the BC government, and the federal government. Since that time there have been problems with some fleets living up to the agreement.
Only two companies-Port Transport and Harbour Link-remain unwilling to bargain deals that meet the pattern, according to Unifor.
Port Transport’s workers have been on strike for a week and remain off the job.
Harbour Link has been one of the main companies that have refused to pay the retroactive wages required under the Container Trucking Act. Unifor has filed a complaint with the Office of the Container Truck Commissioner seeking both wages and penalties.
“Instead of bargaining a fair deal and following the law, Harbour Link has been fighting tooth and nail to avoid paying the wages it owes drivers and now it wants a different contract than that signed with other companies,” said McGarrigle. “With these six deals in hand, Port Transport and Harbour Link are extremely vulnerable to a loss of business. It is in their interest to get a deal as soon as possible.”
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