Vancouver, BC — The Supreme Court of British Columbia has upheld the wage floor in the Container Trucking Act, after ten trucking companies sued the provincial government in an effort to avoid back pay and keep industry wages down.
“Container truck drivers work hard and deserve fair compensation,” said Jerry Dias, Unifor National President. “Unifor fought hard to get higher pay rates and retroactivity included in the Act. We’re pleased that the court recognized the greed exhibited by these trucking companies for what it was.”
The June 30, 2017 BC Supreme Court decision ruled against the trucking companies challenge of the Act, made in an attempt to avoid paying over $1 million in back pay that was owed at the time to hard working drivers.
“The Container Trucking Act provides a level playing field for wages, but these companies prefer a race to the bottom,” said Gavin McGarrigle, Unifor’s BC Area Director. “This ruling upholds a legislated wage floor that ensures companies can’t get away with ruthlessly undercutting wages and causing chaos at the Port.”
Since the Act came into effect in 2014 more than $2.3 million dollars in back pay has been ordered. Additionally, approximately one out of every three trucking companies licensed under the Act has been found in violation of various areas, including retroactive pay.
Unifor has called on the BC government and now asks that the new NDP government impose and collect interest on all monies owed to truckers, designate additional funds for enforcement, and ensure that penalties for violation of the Act include much higher fine amounts along with suspensions and terminations of licensees who cheat truckers.
The Union says the Act’s protection of trucker wages has contributed to labour peace at Port Metro Vancouver. In March 2014, container truckers shut down the port for nearly four weeks as a result of wage undercutting by trucking companies and long wait times for the drivers. Truckers went back to work after Unifor helped to negotiate a plan, agreed to by the truckers, the Port, the BC government, and the federal government, which eventually led to the creation of the Container Trucking Act.