Drivers from two trucking companies serving the Port of Vancouver are threatening to strike later this week if they aren’t offered better terms of employment.
Unifor, a labor union representing drivers at Aheer Transportation and Prudential Transportation, says that 200 of their drivers plan to walk off the job on Friday, December 3rd, if the companies do not present them with a better offer, reported Times Colonist.
The Canadian workers are requesting better health, dental, and insurance benefits for all of their drivers, along with increased payment for time spent waiting for their trucks to be loaded and unloaded. This strike would affect about 10% of trucks servicing the Port of Vancouver, approximately 170 trucks, an area already affected by flooding in mid November.
Unifor says that the strike may threaten Canada’s supply chain even further, but believes the strike is necessary due to increasing business at the two trucking companies, allowing room for increased compensation for truck drivers.
“Prudential and Aheer’s largest competitor at Harbour Link can afford to treat Unifor members fairly and all of these drivers play a critical role in the supply chain of the Lower Mainland,” said Gavin McGarrigle, Unifor’s western regional director, in a release.
“It would be a shame if two greedy employers caused further disruptions to supply chain stability for the small extra costs required to meet the pattern agreement.”
Prudential Transportation did not respond to requests for comment but Shina Aheer, an executive at Aheer Transportation, had this to say about the compensation disagreement:
“I like to accommodate and I don’t want any disruption to labour, but at the same time, I don’t want to be uncompetitive in the marketplace or take myself out of the market.”
Aheer said that the company hopes to reach an agreement with workers before the end of the week. If not, the strike may negatively impact the supply chain further.
“Every bit does count,” he said.
“Every truck that goes to the Port of Vancouver relieves the pressure and the congestion of the supply chain.”