Manitoba’s trucking industry is facing a series of challenges during a Manitoba Public Insurance (MPI) strike that has closed all the Crown corporation’s locations.
“For our industry to operate people need licences, and equipment needs to be registered and insured. Our industry is being impacted in all of these areas,” said Aaron Dolyniuk, executive director of the Manitoba Trucking Association (MTA).
The Manitoba Government and General Employees’ Union’s 1,700 members have been on strike since Aug. 28, seeking wage increases. MPI delivers insurance, registration and licensing services to drivers. Its website said, “All appointments scheduled this week have been cancelled and are being rebooked.”
Truck driver training schools are unable to graduate students because Class 1 knowledge and road tests are unavailable, Dolyniuk said. “This impacts the school’s ability to conduct business. It also prevents new drivers from joining our industry and earning a living.”
Delays and union demands
The delays being experienced in vehicle licensing also affect new owner-operators who are unable to work until their trucks are added to fleets. Carriers are delayed when adding and removing trucks. Dolyniuk said licence plate replacements are also seeing long turnaround times.
“The longer the strike lasts, the greater the impact there will be on our industry,” Dolyniuk said. He warned that backlogs that existed in some areas before the strike action are now growing.
“Our members at MPI have told us that their priority is to negotiate wage increases that help all members keep up with the soaring cost of living,” union president Kyle Ross said in a press release.
The latest government offer of 2% per year falls far short of inflation, he added.
“We are disappointed that the government and the corporation have once again made aggressive, misleading and disingenuous statements about the current offer before our members. Their claim that they have offered ‘up to 17%’ grossly inflates their actual offer by including non-wage items, one-time payments and other increases that flow only to some members.”
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