Trucker strike looms in Vancouver

CNS Canada — Container truck drivers at the Port of Vancouver could walk off the job as early as noon Thursday, according to reports.

The Vancouver Container Truckers’ Association (VCTA), which represents 400 drivers, issued a 72-hour strike notice on Monday after a 100 per cent vote in favour of taking action. More than 1,000 unionized and non-unionized drivers represented by the United Truckers Association have already been taking job action since Feb. 26.

Long waiting times at the port are a major complaint of the drivers, who are looking for improvements to the turnaround time, increased pay and standardized rates.

“We’ve attempted to settle this disagreement at the bargaining table and in discussions with the government,” VCTA president Paul Johal said in a statement, “but without any progress on improving rates, dealing with undercutting and fixing growing lineups at the ports, we have no choice but to take job action.”

In a separate statement, Canada’s Transport Minister Lisa Raitt announced the appointment of Vince Ready to conduct an independent review into trucking problems in Vancouver. Recommendations are to be made by May 30.

Efficient movement of goods through Port Metro Vancouver is critical to Canada’s Asia Pacific Gateway and the national economy, the government said in its release.

While initiatives have been undertaken in recent years to improve operational stability in the Port Metro Vancouver trucking industry, issues associated with compensation, working conditions, and wait-times continue to raise concerns, the government added.

“We look forward to receiving Mr. Ready’s recommendations on enhancing supply chain reliability and labour stability in Port Metro Vancouver’s trucking industry,” Raitt said in the release. — CNS Canada

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