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National Day of Action for Safe Rates: Sept. 22, 2023

Unifor members will be holding rallies on Sept. 22, 2023, at DHL locations in Brampton, Ottawa, and Hamilton, Ont., Richmond, B.C., Winnipeg, Edmonton, Calgary, Montreal and Quebec City.

Details for all rallies can be found here.

There will also be rallies held across Canada by taxi drivers, container truck drivers, courier drivers, and transit bus operators.

“Low pay and unsafe conditions force drivers to take enormous risks in order to make ends meet. While this might make sense for the narrow interests of corporate shareholders, it is a disaster for everyone else,” said Unifor National President Lana Payne.

“The Canadian government must listen to this call and urgently make a change. Until they do, they will have to answer for every avoidable collision on our roads.”

“While DHL’s profits skyrocketed to 8.4 billion Euros ($12 billion Canadian) last year, our trucking members are getting tossed off to the side,” said Unifor National Secretary-Treasurer Len Poirier. 

“The owner-operators were a part of why the DHL grew at 30% in Canada, and the high rates gave drivers incentive to build the business. Our couriers don’t get an hourly rate, so they have to hustle to get more money. Our couriers grew their business and are not getting the respect they deserve.”

Unions representing more than a million road transport drivers around the world say that low pay and poor employment conditions force drivers to engage in dangerous on-road practices to make ends meet.

Safe Rates Campaign in Canada

Unifor has joined more than 50 trade unions representing road transport drivers around the world calling for “Safe Rates” systems, which will improve workers' rights and make roads safer.

Unifor identifies the current issues that reduce pay and undermine safety:

  • DHL route shortening for owner-operators significantly reduces their pay.
  • School Bus sector is facing driver supply shortages.
  • Cash In Transit companies are reducing workers per vehicle.
  • Intermodal trucking contracting-out to lower waged companies.
  • Lack of equitable access to bathroom facilities for drivers and operators.
  • Increased insurance costs across the industry.
  • Digital platform companies (or tech companies) misclassifying workers to avoid regulation.

Evidence shows that pay increases as little as 10% can reduce accidents by 30%.

Unifor is fighting these business models in road transport that have become unsustainable and lead to labour abuses.

Global Safe Rates Campaign

The campaign, launched by the International Transport Workers' Federation (ITF) and its member unions, including Unifor, points to evidence that road transport drivers' working conditions force them into dangerous on-road behaviours.

"In countries all around the world, low pay and long hours for road transport drivers aren't just making life a misery for the workers who keep our economies moving. They are also causing carnage and death on our roads,” said Stephen Cotton, General Secretary of the International Transport Workers’ Federation.

"The Safe Rates campaign says that enough is enough. We know that when drivers are paid properly and have decent conditions, they are able to work without being forced to risk their own lives and the lives of everyone on the roads. Responsible employers know that fair and safe standards in road transport are not only good for workers; they make our whole industry safer and more sustainable.”