Owner-operator group threatens ‘European-style’ shutdown

OSHAWA, Ont. (Nov. 27, 2000) — A group of Ontario owner-operators are threatening to shut down major highways to show their frustration over what they are calling failed promises of relief from the high cost of diesel fuel.

“What happened in Europe, will happen here,” said National Truckers Association president Bill Wellman, referring to blockades that crippled commerce in Britain and France last summer. Groups of truck operators and farmers succeeded in getting governments to offer fuel tax cuts and other concessions.

Wellman, who did not say when the protests would occur, met with about 250 independent owner-operators in Oshawa, Ont., yesterday. Federal and provincial politicians were also in attendance.

Wellman said shippers and trucking companies are not fulfilling an Oct. 20 agreement to pay an 8.9% fuel surcharge based on the gross contract price carriers get for shipping goods for Canadian manufacturers.

The deal was non-binding, however. Wellman said provincial Economic Development Minister Al Palladini has “no other choice but to step in and regulate a fair and viable fuel surcharge to get us over this.”

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