A two-and-a-half-week truckers' strike at the Port of Vancouver, B.C., seemed unlikely to end Monday despite requests by port and terminal officials to return to work, and the port's largest terminal said it will declare force majeure -- "inability to serve" -- to its shipping line customers.
Robin Silvester, president and chief executive officer of Port
Metro Vancouver, on Sunday called on truckers to immediately return to work
, saying the port was "ready to move ahead with the
14-point joint action plan released on Thursday, March 13,” that he said "addresses concerns raised by truckers in areas such as compensation and
wait times, and is a means to get port operations back to normal.”
the port returns to full operations, Vince Ready will facilitate the
implementation of the action plan.
But, a press release issued Sunday night by Unifor
, which represents about 400 unionized truckers, said, "After meeting with representatives of the port and the provincial and federal governments, container truck drivers say that basic concerns about minimum rates for all drivers have still not been addressed."
“Truckers understand the impact of the work stoppage, and we’re eager
to find a speedy resolution,” said Paul Johal, president of
Unifor-Vancouver Container Truckers’ Association. “Container
truck drivers deserve more than minimum wage for waiting time.”
The United Truckers Association of British Columbia
, which represents about 1,000 non-unionized truckers, posted a message on its Facebook page Saturday saying it and Unifor had "organized a meeting to discuss the 14 points released earlier. After a detailed discussion, both parties disagree and were dissatisfied with the points. Both teams have replied to the authorities with a conditional counteroffer to return to work. Now, we wait for the authorities to reply back."
Stephen Edwards, president and chief executive officer of GCT Global Container Terminals, said Friday that due to the backlog of cargo in containers on its terminals, its TSI subsidiary, has "reluctantly issued force majeure (“inability to serve”) to our shipping line customers."
TSI's Deltaport and Vanterm facilities in Vancouver handle more than 75 percent of the
containers transiting through Port Metro Vancouver and 45 percent of
Canada's container traffic.
Edwards said the force majeure declaration "is applicable only to import cargo in containers destined for local delivery. Import cargo to rail and all export cargo are not affected and continue to be served by the company."
Port Metro Vancouver said the 14-point plan
would "help ensure truck drivers are paid fair compensation. It also includes rapid implementation of pilot measures to help reduce wait times at container terminals and the creation of an industry oversight committee."
It added, "As part of the plan, and to address industry instability and concerns about undercutting agreed rates, Port Metro Vancouver will restructure its truck licensing system."