VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – Port Metro Vancouver has unveiled a compensation program for around 650 unlicensed truckers with which it’s severing ties. The offer comes after the Port made changes to its licensing system which shut out some companies that once hauled cargo.
With the number of truck drivers licenses pared down, those displaced drivers are eligible for up to $15,000 under Port Metro Vancouver’s transition support program.
Gavin McGarrigle with UNIFOR, representing unionized container truckers, believes everything from the licensing system to the support payments is unfair. “We had no role in determine that amount or that figure, that was just simply dictated from on high, from the government saying there’s the amount of money, and you should be happy with it.”
He thinks Port Metro Vancouver and the government should be more transparent. “They don’t seem to be interested in broad based sectoral bargaining to try to get to a fair solution, they just seem to want to impose things from on high and then expect for truckers to just roll over and take it.”
He’s also angry about the hiring of a new trucking commissioner to improved members’ working conditions, claiming there’s a “blatant conflict of interest.”
“On first glance it appears to be a blatant conflict of interest. The commissioner that they have appointed as I understand it is still going to continue in his role speaking for the employer group of the BC Maritime Employers Association so this is the terminal operators who had to pay out hundreds of thousands of dollars in waiting time fees that is now going to serve as the trucking commissioner. We just don’t understand how you can wear both hats at the same time. It seems like the fox guarding the hen house,” he explains.
The BC government appointed Andy Smith as the container trucking commissioner. Smith is responsible for the licensing system, must create an advisory committee on issues such as trucking rates and oversee a whistleblower phone line.