Forced-work legislation will only make matters worse: Union

Unifor pushes for negotiated settlement in Metro Vancouver port dispute

British Columbia transportation minister Todd Stone’s latest effort to end the Metro Vancouver port dispute will only make matters worse, Unifor said in a statement.

The union said Stone’s refusal to negotiate with container truck drivers — and the introduction of forced-work legislation — will never lead to a long-term solution.

“The minister can’t expect to stick his head in the sand and make this go away,” said Paul Johal, president of Unifor-Vancouver Container Truckers’ Association (VCTA). “A negotiated settlement is the only sustainable solution. “

Unifor-VCTA members recently voted unanimously in favour of a strike after more than 18 months of failed negotiations. The union said its members are concerned about the Port of Vancouver’s long line-ups and wait times. The long lines and wasted time cost truck drivers money, and members have reportedly voiced concerns that rates agreed to in previous contract negotiations were not being honoured “due to under-cutting.”

“Stripping workers of their right to negotiate fair working conditions is not leadership,” said Unifor’s national 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.”

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