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Updated: Sat, 08 Mar 2014 18:37:04 GMT | By CBC News, cbc.ca

Unionized container truckers reject Vancouver port deal



Veteran labour mediator Vince Ready greets representatives of Unifor-Vancouver Container Truckers' Association just hours before the union's noon strike deadline. CBC

Veteran labour mediator Vince Ready greets representatives of Unifor-Vancouver Container Truckers' Association just hours before the union's noon strike deadline. CBC

Unionized container truck drivers at Port Metro Vancouver have voted to reject a tentative deal drawn up Thursday by veteran labour mediator Vince Ready.

Paul Johal, president of Unifor-Vancouver Container Truckers’ Association, says the truck drivers are concerned about long line-ups and wait times at Port Metro Vancouver's facilities, which he said is costing the drivers money.

“Our members have spoken: the deal was too little, too late,” Johal said in a written statement on Saturday.

The union is demanding increased pay rates that would be standardized and enforced across the trucking sector to put an end to under-cutting.

The Unifor-VCTA members voted in favour of a strike on March 1 and had threatened to walk out at noon Thursday, but agreed to discuss their outstanding issues after Ready was appointed by federal Transport Minister Lisa Raitt.

About $885-million worth of cargo moves through the port every week, or about $46 billion a year, Raitt's office said Thursday in a statement on the dispute.

The port says it is already feeling the effects of work stoppages begun by some non-unionized truckers — effects that could be worsened if unionized truckers were to follow through with job action.

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