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Unifor calls on Minister Raitt to negotiate with truckers

VANCOUVER, March 25, 2014 /CNW/ - The union representing container truck drivers in Vancouver is calling on federal Minister of Transportation Lisa Raitt to get to the bargaining table immediately to negotiate a sustainable solution to the Port of Metro Vancouver dispute.

"I have called the Minister every day since last Thursday, and she won't even pick up the phone," said Jerry Dias, national president of Unifor. "We're prepared to work around the clock to find a sustainable solution, but Minister Raitt would rather pick a fight than find a solution."

Involved in the dispute are nearly 200 truck company owners, 1000 non-union drivers, 350 union drivers, the BC government, and the Port bosses. With so many parties involved, Unifor has lobbied to have an independent third party assist with a negotiated settlement.

"Mediator Vince Ready probably could have solved this two weeks ago if Minister Raitt was interested in finding a solution," said Dias. "The Minister is kidding herself if she thinks that the solution is forced-work legislation. Workers will not be forced back to work because the Minister refuses to sit down and have the dialogue required to find a solution."

The BC government tabled forced-work legislation on March 24, but Unifor says this will only prolong and complicate matters.

"A negotiated settlement is the only sustainable solution," said Paul Johal, president of Unifor-Vancouver Container Truckers' Association (VCTA). "The government's heavy-handed tactics will not ensure stability at the Port of Metro Vancouver."

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.


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