After rejecting a tentative agreement last Thursday, Port Metro Vancouver container truck drivers are taking their grievances to the picket line today.
The workers, who are represented by Unifor, have been in a legal strike position since March 1. Despite the federal Ministry of Transport calling in veteran labour mediator Vince Ready to help avert the labour disruption, the two sides were unable to reach an agreement.
CBC News reported that the main point of contention during negotiations was a wage increase for the workers. Port Metro Vancouver container truck drivers are paid on average $15.59 an hour, about $7 less than the provincial average for other truck drivers. According to Unifor, long wait times at the port were costing drivers wages as well.
“We’ve warned the government for years how bad the conditions are,” said Gavin McGarrigle, Unifor’s BC Area Director, in a statement provided by Unifor.
Port Metro Vancouver is considered the gateway to Asia Pacific by the federal government. A statement released by Minister of Transport Lisa Raitt said that port operations were already being adversely affected by the labour stoppages.
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