A truck is loaded with a container at Deltaport.

Deal reached with unionized container truckers

Three quarters of Unifor drivers now have new contracts, assurance of back pay, remainder picket two holdout firms

Most of the Lower Mainland’s unionized container truck drivers have ratified new collective agreements that ensure they get unpaid retroactive pay and nearly four years of labour peace.

Whirlwind negotations over the weekend ended with the deal between about 75 per cent of the more than 400 Unifor-represented drivers and five trucking firms – AG, Aheer, Forward, Prudential and Sunlover.

Union officials say the new contracts will run until mid-2019, providing long-term stability for much of the sector, among other improvements.

The union says it’s been unable to reach agreement with two holdout companies – Port Transport and Harbour Link.

Workers at Port Transport are continuing a week-old strike there and picketing began Monday at Harbour Link’s yard in Delta.

Unifor wants B.C.’s container trucking commissioner to force Harbour Link to pay unpaid wages and penalties, pursuant to provincial legislation that required trucking firms to pay standardized rates as well as back pay.

Unrest had grown in the sector as several holdout firms resisted the new requirements amid contract talks. The province replaced its original commissioner earlier this fall amid union complaints he wasn’t doing enough to compel compliance with the new pay system, which was intended to avoid a repeat of the month-long strike by port truckers last year.