The truck driver strike at Port Metro Vancouver has come to an end. Canadian and British Columbian governments are reporting that they have reached an agreement with the United Truckers Association (UTA) and Unifor Wednesday evening, ending a 28-day work stoppage at the port.
Truckers resumed business-as-usual operations on Thursday, March 27. According to the office of Premier Christy Clark, all parties adopted a refined joint action plan after extensive discussions. Vince Ready, a federal mediator, will continue overseeing the negotiations to review and finalize the agreement.
On March 13, a 14-point Joint Action Plan was announced by the federal government in an attempt to end the strike. The plan did very little to ease tensions between truck drivers and the port. Subsequently, back-to-work legislation was introduced less than two weeks later. The latest agreement includes a revised 15-point Joint Action Plan. The Canadian government will not proceed with the proposed legislation introduced on Monday.
Most of the same points from the original plan have been preserved, but with some tweaks and more detail. In the original 14-point plan, trip rates would have increased by 10 percent within one month. The newest plan has an increase of 12 percent over the 2006 Ready Rates within 30 days. Another change is a fuel surcharge multiplier of 2 percent, which is up from the 1 percent that was originally proposed.
Below is a summary of the agreement that was released by the Canadian federal government:
- Lawsuit against UTA will be dropped, and truckers whose licenses were suspended will have them returned.
- A 12 percent increase of 2006 ready Rates; applies to move all containers, full or empty; an hourly rate minimum of $25.13 on hire and $26.28 after the first year.
- The provincial government will ensure access to mediation in renewal agreements if needed.
- Fuel surcharge multiplier from 1 percent to 2 percent, resulting in a 14% fuel surcharge; enforcement of rates will be done through auditing.
- The provincial government will implement an audit program that will include companies and both union and non-union truckers; severe penalties for rate violators on either side.
- A whistleblower mechanism to report noncompliance, intimidation, and harassment.
- A restructuring of the licensing system including accountability of companies to comply with rates and agreement, license charge on companies to fund new system and GPS/optimization technology, security deposits for companies, and control over the number of licensed trucks.
- An extended-hours pilot program that will be dependent on volume forecasts.
- Terminal Gate Compliance Fee will be waived when excessive delays are encountered.
- The federal government and the port will roll out the next phase of the GPS project to outfit the balance of the trucking fleet with GPS technology.
- The port will consult with terminals and stakeholders to implement an enhanced common reservation system.
- After 90 minutes of waiting at port terminals, $50 per trip shall be paid, an additional $25 after two hours, another $25 after two and a half hours, and $20 for each additional half hour.
- Representatives of both union and non-union trucking communities, terminals, the port, Transport Canada and provincial government will form a steering community to ensure the implementation of the agreement.
- Vince Ready will review and finalize the agreement within 90 days of a return to work per the provincial government, the federal government, and the port.
- Both union (Unifor) and non-union (UTA) truckers agree to return to work immediately.
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