Unifor, the large labour union, announced Jan. 15 that it had reached a new agreement with Harbour Link Container Services, leaving container trucking company Port Transport the last behind the picket lines at Port Metro Vancouver.
The back-and-forth between Port Metro Vancouver companies and employees has been ongoing since 2014 and stems from the contention that drivers were not being paid what they should have been by the respective companies that employed them.
In late November following an audit of several of the port’s container trucking businesses, the Office of the British Columbia Container Trucking Commissioner ruled that the companies were not paying drivers the retroactive rates that was agreed upon in March 2014.
On Nov. 29, 2015, six of the eight container trucking companies working out of the port signed a new collective agreement with Unifor that will expire in July 2019, with Harbour Link and Port Transport holding out.
“We know it is only a matter of time before Port Transport is forced to sign the same agreement that all of the other companies have now signed,” said Joie Warnock, Unifor’s western director, in a release. “Instead of making their customers suffer any longer, Port Transport’s owners need to sign a deal as soon as possible.”
Unifor said the agreement with Harbour Link meets the framework of the pattern deal signed with the other six companies, and increases ‘off dock’ and CN and CP rates for local drivers. Highway drivers will receive a 9% increase on trip and mileage rates, which will increase by 2% in 2017 and 2018.
Unifor said Harbour Link agreed to pay retroactive wages to drivers no later than Jan. 22, and has also agreed to pay for drivers’ cargo insurance.
“The days of trucking companies violating the law and thumbing their noses at container truck drivers are coming to an end,” said McGarrigle. “Our members at Harbour Link should be applauded for their determination to stay on strike over the holiday season to secure a fair deal.”