‘Recent increase for hourly Independent Operators is late and completely inadequate’
THE announced 10% increase to the hourly rate for Independent Operators (“IOs”) by the BC Container Trucking Commissioner not only ignores a time frame laid out by the BC Government in early 2019, but also fails to meet rates being paid by companies voluntarily within the local drayage sector, says the United Truckers Association (UTA).
In spite of recognition that the Office of the British Columbia Container Trucking Commissioner’s own 2018 rates and remuneration report states that “the IO hourly rate should ultimately be set at approximately $70.00 per hour,” the Commissioner has waited nearly one year to implement a paltry 10% increase. Further, he provides no specifics on a plan to get to the $70 target, the UTA points out.
This is yet another example of the disconnect that exists between the government’s policy directives and the Commissioner’s motivation to fulfill such measures, says UTA spokesperson Gagan Singh.
“The UTA spent a year negotiating with government to achieve these rate increases, and yet Commissioner Michael Crawford has taken one year to implement them,” adds Singh. “On top of this, the rate increase of 10% is significantly less than several companies are already paying hour IOs, not including the additional bonuses they are receiving for certain hours and loads carried.”
The Commissioner was also directed by the government to conduct a new rate review no later than 2020, yet because this implementation is already six months behind, that rate review is unlikely to be undertaken or enacted as instructed.
The UTA is also struggling with the lack of enforcement regarding illegal off-dock activity, which was one of the main causes of the 2014 Port of Vancouver labour disruption. In spite of years of promises that the Commissioner will be stepping up oversight of companies using illegal carriers, it is estimated that 30-40 per cent of all current off-dock work continues to be conducted by unlicensed companies, says the UTA.
Much of the promises arising from the Commissioner’s office seems to be lip service without any concrete plans on how to achieve their goals, adds Singh.
“The only way for illegal off-dock activities to be controlled is for the implementation of infrastructure restricting access to everyone but licensed providers, but off-dock facilities remain the same as they were in 2014,” says Singh. “Commissioner Crawford is aware that there is no way to enforce such activities in real time, yet he continues to make commitments he cannot live up to.”
The UTA will be holding its first general meeting at the Grand Taj Banquet Hall on February 16. A large crowd of IOs, employee drivers and unionized workers is expected.