At issue were wages and escalating costs of fuel. A break in the strike that began on June 27 came when 90% of drivers supported an agreement worked out by a federal facilitator, Vince Ready. Then, the trucking companies that make up the striking Vancouver Container Truck Association (VCTA) said they wouldn’t go along with it, causing a great of exasperation since they had agreed to the mediated proposal just the day before. One reason for the rejection by the trucking companies, it was suggested, was they just don’t trust each other and wanted some sort of enforcement mechanism in any agreement.
The Vancouver Port Authority then brought forward a 90-day license system that would permit those signing access to the ports. A proviso was that the trucking companies would also have to sign the memo of agreement that had been worked out with Ready. It was this issue that caused the VCTA to balk.
However, the unity that VCTA had hoped to maintain was broken when 25 trucking companies, employing 500 drivers, agreed to sign the Ready mediated solution. As these companies return to work, the ports are beginning to clear the backup.
For those who haven’t signed the agreement, there may be other measures pursued. In an interview with Canada’s Daily News, Ken Halliday, one of the negotiators, notes that, “Originally the VCTA’s position was we all go back or none of us go back. But circumstances change and the employers are taking a position that is in a bargaining sense pretty nonsensical. So we have to come up with another solution.”