B.C. moves to break strike with back-to-work order
Port Metro Vancouver. (QMI AGENCY FILE PHOTO)
The provincial government will force an end to job action at Port Metro Vancouver, sparking a warning from unionized truck drivers.
Back-to-work legislation, which could be introduced Monday, will include a 90-day cooling off period for 250 Unifor members.
“These actions are necessary and are required today to protect the economy,” said a transportation minister statement.
Victoria insists the truckers are refusing to work despite a 14-point plan created by mediator Vince Ready.
“Despite the offer to work on the plan, truckers have not returned to work,” said the news release.
But the union said the deal did not include input from the drivers themselves.
It wants negotiations and said the government’s actions will only escalate the situation.
“BC Transportation Minister Todd Stone’s refusal to negotiate with container truck drivers and the introduction of forced-work legislation will only make matters worse in the port dispute,” said the union in a release.
The unionized workers and non-unionized members of the United Truckers Association went on strike or stopped working earlier this month complaining that low rates and long waits are eating into their take-home pay.
The port has threatened to strip drivers of their licences to service the port if they don’t return to work.
The legislation would not affect non-union drivers.
Late Wednesday, Unifor said they will decide how to respond, but were not likely to obey any forced work legislation.
“Stripping workers of their right to negotiate fair working conditions is not leadership,” said Unifor president Jerry Dias. “We’re actively seeking a resolution that works for everyone, but that can’t be done if the minister doesn’t take workers’ rights seriously.”