Vancouver truckers reach tentative deal

CNS Canada –– Container truck drivers at Port Metro Vancouver, Canada’s largest port, reached a tentative agreement on Thursday, avoiding a strike by 400 members of Unifor-Vancouver Container Truckers’ Association (VCTA).

The drivers had been set to join 1,200 non-unionized truckers, represented by the United Truckers Association, who have already been taking job action since Feb. 26.

The federal government appointed mediator Vince Ready on Thursday to reach a settlement. Ready was also tasked with conducting an independent review into the trucking problems in Vancouver. Recommendations are to be made by May 30.

“This is one small step towards justice for container truck drivers,” said Paul Johal, president of Unifor-VCTA, in a release. “Truckers will not be mollified with lip service to this review. We are watching developments closely.”

The parties will continue to meet with Ready this week. Members of Unifor-VCTA will vote on the tentative agreement on Saturday, the union said.

Unifor-VCTA’s collective agreement expired in June 2012. During that time, the union has been raising concerns that long line-ups and wait times at the Port of Vancouver are costing truck drivers money. Unifor-VCTA is looking for economic improvements that are standardized and enforced across the sector to put an end to under-cutting, said the release.

“It’s unfortunate that the government waited until the eleventh hour to get the ball rolling, but the progress made today was important,” Jerry Dias, Unifor’s national president said in the release. — CNS Canada

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