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More than 100 dump trucks stage strike at Derry and Dixie

May 21, 2014
By

Mississauga News

MISSISSAUGA — Scores of dump-truck drivers went on strike today to protest in Mississauga over pay and safety concerns.

Around 150 drivers had gathered their vehicles in a vacant lot at the corner of Dixie and Derry Rds by noon and organizers were hoping for up to 500 vehicles by the end of the day.

The drivers, who mostly own and operate their own vehicles, are members of the Ontario Dump Truck Association. They are usually hired to haul dirt away from construction sites around the GTA. But on Tuesday they were going nowhere.

“Those trucks, they hold all GTA construction,” said Brampton-based trucker Jesse Chahal, motioning at the two long lines of 21-tonne trucks that had pulled up in the lot. “If they don’t move, the construction has to stand by for a while.”

The protesters were trying to draw attention to a list of concerns, including the rates they are paid, which they say have not kept pace with their increasing costs. Rapidly rising gas prices and government licensing fees are, they say, stretching their profit margins to breaking point.

Prince Saini, a spokesperson for the protesters, said, “The people are getting paid the same amount of money they were getting paid five years ago. If you see the inflation in the economy, the price of fuel has almost doubled in the last five years, the price of insurance has doubled in the last five years, the sticker plate has almost doubled.”  

Manjinder Thind, who has run Mississauga-based White Hawk Transport for the last six years, said that the current environment was the toughest he has seen. According to Thind, after drivers have paid their long list of costs, many have around $30,000 a year left to live on.

They also alleged that their trucks sometimes leave construction sites with heavier loads than they are allowed to carry. It is the driver’s responsibility to ensure the vehicle meets road safety standards, including loading, but the protesters said in practice it is difficult to know exactly how much weight the truck is carrying. This can leave them with tickets if police do a spot-check on their vehicle. Although some companies pick up the tab for the fine, the drivers complain that they still end up with the infraction on their record.

The Mississauga News reached out to several GTA excavation companies for their reaction to the protest, but none responded.

The strike has echoes of a protest in 2008 when hundreds of ODTA drivers massed at Derry and Dixie for several days in an effort to win higher pay and highlight safety concerns.



Mississauga News

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