November 8, 2017
Victoria—In a meeting with Minister Doug Donaldson, Unifor representatives urged the BC NDP government to keep the pressure on for a softwood lumber deal that benefits Canadian communities.
“Forestry is a vital industry in dozens of BC communities,” said Scott Doherty, Executive Assistant to the Unifor National President. “The BC government must be a vocal advocate for forestry jobs.”
Steep tariffs were levied by the U.S. on Canadian lumber exports in May 2017. On November 2 the U.S. Department of Commerce announced that it would lower the combined countervailing and anti-dumping rate to 20.83 per cent from 26.75 per cent. Conservative estimates suggest that sustained 25% combined duties could yield a loss of 25,000 Canadian jobs.
Doherty says that the BC government has an important role to keep the federal government honest in trade negotiations.
Unifor representatives also pressed Donaldson to fix the job-killing raw log export policies implemented by the BC Liberals.
“The BC Liberals were very loyal to their forestry company donors when it came to giving away our natural resources,” Doherty said. “But the BC Liberal forestry legacy is staggering job losses and suffering resource communities. BC must do better.”
Donaldson is the Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations, and Rural Development. Unifor represents 5,100 workers in the resources sector.
Unifor also met with Labour Minister Harry Bains to discuss the Container Trucking Act as it relates to maintaining a wage floor for truckers. In September an arbitrator has upheld the Act’s wage floor, resulting in $90,000 in combined damages assessed to trucking companies Aheer Ltd and Sunlover Ltd.
Since the Act was introduced in 2014, Unifor has collected hundreds of thousands of dollars owed to drivers and the Container Truck Commissioner has ordered payment of fines and over $2.3 million in wages .