VANCOUVER, March 16 A two-and-a-half week
container truck driver strike at Port Metro Vancouver was set to
continue on Monday after a government and port authority plan to
end the job action at Canada's largest port failed to make
headway on the weekend.
The 14-point plan, revealed late on Thursday by the Canadian
and British Columbia governments and the port authority, sets
out to address the concerns of the striking drivers on fair pay,
reduced wait times at container facilities and the creation of
an industry oversight committee.
It also called for the striking drivers, who include
unionized and independent truckers, to return to work
immediately, ending a strike that has crippled operations and
delayed the transport of hundreds of millions of dollars worth
Gavin McGarrigle, British Columbia area director for Unifor,
the union that represents about 400 container truck drivers,
said it had responded to the 14-point plan with some questions
but that it had been told it would get no answers until truckers
returned to work.
Truckers were told by representatives of the port and
government to "to take it or leave it," said Manny Dosange,
spokesman for the United Trucking Association, which speaks for
the independent drivers.
"Our members are not prepared to that," Dosange said in an
Hundreds of non-union drivers parked their rigs on Feb. 26
in protest over services and pay at the city's port facilities.
Unionized workers voted to join the strike just days later and
officially walked off the job early this week.
The work action has crippled operations at Port Metro
Vancouver's container terminals, slowing the transport of
commodities such as lumber, pulp products and specialized
grains, along with household goods and construction materials.
Rising Asian demand for Canadian products has led to a boom
at Port Metro Vancouver, which handled a record 135 million
tonnes of cargo in 2013, including about 25 million tonnes of
containerized material. It is Canada's largest and busiest port.
"The goal is simple, to get Port Metro Vancouver back to
full operations," Robin Silvester, President & Chief Executive
Officer of Port Metro Vancouver said in a statement on Sunday.
He repeated that a continued refusal by some truckers to
provide services "is likely to result in suspension or
termination of their permits by Port Metro Vancouver".
The federal government did not immediately respond to an
email seeking comment. A representative for the British Columbia
government directed Reuters to Silvester's statement.
Drivers say they are frustrated over increased wait times at
the container terminals, which cut into their profits. They are
paid by the load and do not make money while sitting in line
waiting to load or unload cargo.
They are also demanding regulated and enforced pay rates, to
help prevent trucking companies from undercutting one another.
(Reporting by Nicole Mordant and Julie Gordon in Vancouver and
Jeffrey Hodgson in Toronto; Editing by Eric Walsh)