Port Metro Vancouver says it is taking security measures amid a strike by container truckers that is dramatically disrupting port operations, while working to address the group’s concerns.
According to CBC News
, the strike group, made up of union drivers and non-unionized drivers, includes about 400 workers, and is responsible for nine picket lines put up at the port on Monday.
Members of the union, the Unifor-Vancouver Container Truckers’ Association, voted Saturday to reject a recommendation to return to work with the help of an intermediary, Vince Ready.
“The purpose of Mr. Ready’s appointment was to conduct a review of an industry that is clearly not functioning well for all stakeholders,” said Port Metro Vancouver President and Chief Executive Officer Robin Silvester in a statement. “We agree that truckers should be paid a fair wage, but bargaining relating to employment and contract relationships can only be done with the employer or the parties to the contract. Port Metro Vancouver is not the employer and is not party to the contract relationships.”
The port said the disruption over the past several days has had a major effect on the ability of terminal operators to move goods.
“The impact of truckers walking off the job is in the order of about $885 million per week,” Silvester said. “Goods are not moving and that is bad news for consumers and businesses.”
The union said the average rate of pay for truckers moving containers to or from Port Metro Vancouver is $15.59 an hour, CBC
reported, whereas the average rate of pay in the British Columbia trucking industry is $23 an hour.
On Saturday, following the rejection of the deal, union president Paul Johal said warnings to the government about workers’ conditions have been given for years.
“Our members have spoken: the deal was too little, too late,” Johal said in a statement.