United Truckers seek enactment of 14-point plan, stability at Port Metro Vancouver



THE United Truckers Association of BC (UTA) said on Tuesday that it is encouraged to learn that legislation will be tabled in the BC Legislature, putting into motion a 14-point Joint Action Plan signed by the association and Premier Christy Clark along with federal representatives in March of this year. The plan will bring a number of key initiatives to fulfillment in order to ensure continued stability to the shipping schedule at Port Metro Vancouver.

“When we signed the 14-point Joint Action Plan with the Premier in March, we were under the understanding that it would be implemented into legislation within 30 days and a stable system would be reviewed, finalized, and acted upon within 90 days. We have been waiting eight months, so we are anxious to see these promises fulfilled,” said UTA spokesman Manny Dhillon. “Our members are once again losing faith in the system, as the core points agreed upon in the Joint Action Plan have not been put into action despite continued promises.”

Non-union truckers walked off the job on February 26. Negotiations with the provincial and federal governments ended their job action on March 26 with the establishment of a 14-point Joint Action Plan signed by the representatives of the UTA and both levels of government.

Some of the key agreed upon resolutions in the 14-point Joint Action Plan include:

* Round trip moves paid in full for both On Dock and Off Dock moves;

* Establishment of an hourly rate for company drivers;

* A benchmark minimum rate, set across the sector;

* Paid wait-time after 90 minutes at the ports; and

* A 12% increase in trip rates over 2006 established rates along with a 16% fuel surcharge.

“In the current situation, the average port trucker is putting in more than 16 hours a day and barely earning above minimum wage. Our members are having a tough time taking care of their families,” said Dhillon. “Vince Ready and Corin Bell submitted a recommendation report at the end of September, which is very vague and falls short in resolving many trucker related issues.”

The recent development in the proposed new Truck Licensing System (TLS Port Permitted Trucks) by Port of Metro Vancouver (PMV) violates every labor right and threatens livelihood of about 300-500 truckers, many of whom have been hauling goods to and from the port for more than 15 years.

“The procedures and strategies, to reduce the number of trucks, being opted by PMV are unheard of,” said Dhillon.

The UTA said it seeks immediate action to resolve the ongoing issues truckers are encountering at ports and with continued inaction from both levels of government, it cannot guarantee the stability of cargo transportation.

The United Truckers Association of BC seeks to resolve driver issues at all the terminals while working within the framework of Port Metro Vancouver, terminal operators and government officials. The UTA does not represent all the truck drivers and has both union and non-union truckers as members. The UTA’s long-range goal is to work with unions, importers, exporters, and terminal personnel to create a more efficient supply chain, which does not put the burden on any one entity.