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Vancouver container truck drivers serve strike notice

VANCOUVER, March 3, 2014 /CNW/ - Unifor has served 72-hour notice of legal strike action on behalf of its container truck driver members in Vancouver. A strike will commence if agreement on the outstanding issues cannot be reached by Thursday, March 6 at noon.

"We've attempted to settle this disagreement at the bargaining table and in discussions with government," said Paul Johal, President of Unifor-Vancouver Container Truckers' Association (VCTA). "But without any progress on improving rates, dealing with under-cutting, and fixing growing line-ups at the ports, we have no choice but to take job action."

Unifor-VCTA's collective agreement expired in June 2012. During that time, the union has been raising concerns that long line-ups and wait times at the Port of Vancouver are costing truck drivers money. Unifor-VCTA is demanding increased rates of pay at the bargaining table and wants the rates standardized and enforced across the sector to put an end to under-cutting.

There have been public exchanges between the employers' association and the Port of Metro Vancouver (PMV) about some of the outstanding issues, but the union says that a more collaborative approach with an independent mediator is required.

"The port authority is working with the employers to cook up a backroom deal. They are trying to cut the voices of truck drivers out of the picture," said Gavin McGarrigle, Unifor's BC Area Director. "This labour dispute isn't going be resolved by a top-down approach. Truckers know the industry best and need to be at the table to develop fair solutions."

Unifor was founded Labour Day weekend 2013 when the Canadian Auto Workers and the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers unions merged. With more than 300,000 members, Unifor is Canada's largest union in the private sector.