Laval, March 29, 2018 – Québec Finance Minister Carlos Leitao’s latest provincial budget is raising concerns among members of the Teamsters Union, particularly with regard to a measure to curb the labour shortage in the trucking industry.
While the Québec government recognizes that the freight industry is facing a manpower shortage, they are missing the boat by announcing funding to polish the industry’s image.
A PR campaign will not attract new workers because poor working conditions are the root cause of this labour shortage. When a non-union trucker struggles to earn a decent wage while working 50, 60 or even 70 hours a week, it’s no wonder many truckers quit and job seekers do not rush to fill vacancies.
Moreover, many non-unionized truckers do not have a health and welfare benefits or a pension. In some cases, they cannot afford to take sick leave.
In short, the government’s initiative will see spin doctors trying to sell a career in an industry that doesn’t treat workers right.
According to the Conference Board of Canada, the shortage in this industry would deprive companies of tens of thousands of truckers across Canada by 2020. There are 80,000 truckers in Québec alone.
“We need to improve working conditions before promoting the trucking industry’s image. Otherwise, we might as well be rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. It might look good, but it won’t help at the end of the day.”
“Instead, the government needs to launch a broad consultation on the issues that plague the trucking industry. Transport companies, contractors, the government and the Teamsters Union need to look each other in the eyes and find lasting solutions to this urgent problem,”
– Jean Chartrand, President of Teamsters Local Union 106
Teamsters represent the interests of close to 125,000 workers in Canada, including over 5,500 truckers in Québec. The International Brotherhood of Teamsters, with which Teamsters Canada is affiliated, has 1.4 million members in North America.
Stéphane Lacroix, Director of Communications and Public Affairs
Portable: 514 609-5101