Members of the Ontario Dump Truck Association (ODTA) today began job actions to advocate for respect for their labour rights, fair wages and compensation, and to highlight safety issues. Members have parked their trucks at the Ontario Khalsa Darbar in Mississauga and will not be working and servicing job sites. Some protests and picket lines have also been set up around the GTA.
“We want to work collectively to come to a binding agreement with contractors and others that employ independent dump truck operators. The agreement will put on paper basic labour rights, fair wages and compensation and other standards that we need to have a viable and safe industry,” says Bob Punia of the ODTA. “With rising fuel prices, our members being denied breaks and washroom access, and ongoing safety concerns, we can’t continue to work like this. It’s not safe and it’s not fair.”
The association has sent notice to stakeholders of the request to put in place the agreement along with new minimum load rates that reflect the rising costs of doing business. While most independent dump truck operators are contracted to work on projects and job sites, developers, municipalities and others have a responsibility to ensure everyone working on their site is safe and treated with respect.
“Our hope is to come to a quick resolution and agreement with all parties so that everyone can get back to work with minimal disruption,” says Punia. “These types of agreements have been signed with other groups and we are simply asking for the same standards to be put in place for our hard working members. What’s happening now can only be described as exploitation and it can’t continue. Cutting corners on costs and procedures also puts our members and the public at risk as safety is being compromised in an effort to squeeze maximum work and ‘loads’ out of drivers in the shortest time possible and at the lowest cost.”
The ODTA has more than 2000 members with over a thousand joining the association in recent days in recognition of the need for industry wide collective action. The ODTA job action comes a week after similar actions were launched by the Ontario Aggregate Trucking Association (AOTA) – the other major industry association that represents gravel and aggregate dump truck operators.