British Columbia Supreme Court upholds container truck driver wage 'floor'

Supreme Court of British Columbia, with a June 30th ruling, means 10 trucking companies will have to shell out more than $1 million in back pay to truck drivers.

The court upheld the wage “floor” in the Container Trucking Act, ruling against the trucking companies after they sued the provincial government in an effort to overturn the legislation. The Act establishes a minimum wage for container truck drivers working in the province.

Jerry Dias, president of Unifor, Canada’s largest private sector union, praised the ruling in a press release issued July 6.

“Container truck drivers work hard and deserve fair compensation,” Dias stated. “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.”

Since the legislation came into effect in 2014 more than $2.3 million dollars in back pay has been ordered. Unifor claims approximately one out of every three trucking companies licensed under the Container Trucking Act has been found in violation of various areas, including retroactive pay.

Unifor says the Container Trucking Act’s protection of trucker wages has contributed to labor 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 British Columbia government, and the federal government, which eventually led to the legislation’s creation.

The 10 companies that filed as petitioners are Aheer Transportation, Bestlink Transport Services, Burton Delivery Service, Gantry Trucking, Gur-ish Trucking, Indian River Transport, Roadstar Transport Company, Sunlover Holding Co., Triangle Transportation, and TSD Holding.

“The Container Trucking Act provides a level playing field for wages, but these companies prefer a race to the bottom,” Gavin McGarrigle, Unifor’s British Columbia area director said in the same release. “This ruling upholds a legislated wage floor that ensures companies can’t get away with ruthlessly undercutting wages and causing chaos at the Port.”

Unifor is calling on the newly elected British Columbia government to 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 violate the provisions of the Act.

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