Truckers to block roads

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FREDERICTON, N.B. — New Brunswick truckers will be hitting the highway next week in protest of rising costs and falling incomes.

“The time for talk is done,” says Doras Stennick, Southern New Brunswick Trucking Association president. “Somebody has to start somewhere and say we’re fed up.”

A truckers meeting is planned for both the east- and west-bound lanes near the Nevers Road overpass just outside Fredericton on the Trans-Canada Highway at 7 a.m. on Mar. 3.

This weekend, about 30 independent truckers discussed their options. Struggling to make do with stagnant rates and rising fuel costs, the drivers and small outfit owners all clearly felt it was time to raise their concerns with the public. After discussing the pros and cons of methods such as blocking a refinery or protesting at the legislature, the group decided to take their protest to their own workplace the highway.

The truckers are calling on anyone concerned with fuel prices, haulage rates, insurance premiums, or the soon-to-rise cost of goods to attend the protest with anything on wheels they can park on the side of the road. The group is aiming to have at least 300 vehicles lined along the highway next week.

It’s no use in asking for lower fuel rates as the province would then just curtail any planned highway improvements and truckers would still be struggling, Stennick warned. That’s why some of the people were wondering if they should call for the creation of a Fair Wage Act that would mandate rates for intra-provincial trucking.

Stennick’s biggest question was whether the truckers would stand united, or whether some might take advantage of the situation and work for companies whose regular driver was out on strike?

“If you want to make a difference, you’ve got to stand together and fight for it,” Stennick says. “It’s the truckers of this province that can set things straight, but we’ll have to work together.”

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