Officials of the Canadian government and Port Metro Vancouver have proposed a 14-point plan to end protests and a strike by truckers that have crippled incoming container traffic at Canada’s largest port for more than two weeks.
The plan, announced late March 13, takes into account concerns voiced by container truck owner-operators and unionized truckers as well as input from stakeholders, including recommendations made by federally appointed advisor Vince Ready.
“I have asked Port Metro Vancouver to implement the agreed-upon action plan. It is time to get the port working once again, and we expect the trucking industry to do their part and immediately return to work,” Transport Minister Lisa Raitt said in a statement.
Raitt appointed Ready on March 6 to broker a deal to head off a strike by unionized truckers after protests by nonunion drayage carriers than began Feb. 26.
But a tentative agreement brokered by Ready fell through when members of Unifor-Vancouver Container Truckers Association voted to strike and set up pickets March 10, joining protesting nonunion truckers.
Unifor, an umbrella organization that is Canada’s largest labor union, did not have a response on its website the morning of March 14.
The port remains open, but the strike has crippled its operations and cut its container traffic to about 25% of normal levels.
Louise Yako, president of the British Columbia Trucking Association, told Transport Topics on March 13, “Terminals are becoming extremely congested. I would anticipate that by next week they won’t be able to receive any ships. The next few days are going to be absolutely critical.”
Among the plan’s recommendations are that drivers be fully reimbursed for full surcharges, subject to federal audits, the federal government will adjust regulated trip rates by 10% within one month, and that the port will rescind license suspensions of drivers not involved in any criminal activity.