17 Januari 2015

[170115.EN.BIZ] Vancouver Truck Strike Looms If Deal-Changing Legislation Passes

VANCOUVER harbour truckers have threatened to strike, accusing the British Columbia provincial government of unilaterally including new rules on rates charges and on minimum age of acceptable vehicles in legislation that breaks a 14-point deal that ended the truck strike last March.

"Truckers went back to work based on an agreement signed off by the premier and the federal minister's office," said Unifor union president Jerry Dias.

"If the government won't uphold that deal, then we are not obligated to follow it either," said Mr Dias.

Some 600 truckers are unhappy with the changes unilaterally made to the Joint Action Plan, which in its original form, ended the strike, reports Newark's Journal of Commerce.

Unifor, which represents 400 of the 600 protesting drivers, said it was finalising plans for a strike in anticipation of Transport Minister Ted Stone's expected refusal to drop the terms and conditions added to the original deal.

As Port Metro Vancouver is only directly involved in the licensing programme and reservation system set forth in the Joint Action Plan, the port deferred responses to drivers' complaints to the provincial government.

One issue is the ability of the truckers to set their own rates when government wants to "establish a rate structure that ensures truckers are paid fairly for their work". Drivers what to charge what, when and where they like.

Under normal circumstances, 95 per cent of Vancouver's throughput is Canada bound, but the strike threat comes when the port is being used by a growing number of US shippers to avoid congestion in American west coast ports during a period of labour strife.

The port stated that its American cargo accounts for about two per cent of total US west coast cargo.

Source : HKSG.

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