Canada: Trucker Fuel Talks Break Down : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread


Wednesday, October 4, 2000

Fuel talks break down

TORONTO (CP) -- Talks between angry truck drivers and the Ontario government broke down Tuesday, once again raising concerns that truckers would park their rigs.

A meeting behind closed doors at a Toronto hotel failed to find a solution to skyrocketing fuel prices for independent truck drivers, said Maurice Corriveau, head of the Northern Ontario Truckers, an alliance of independent owner-operators.

A fuel surcharge, which was to be given directly to truckers starting two weeks ago, was the sticking point in the talks, said Corriveau after leaving the meeting.

"There seems to be a big split (in opinion) on the fuel surcharge," Corriveau said. He would not say why the government-promised surcharge was a point of contention in the negotiations.

The government could not immediately be reached for comment.

Corriveau said high fuel prices and gas taxes are crippling truckers' income and without help, they will go out of business.

"We're looking to balance out, and that didn't happen," he said.

A spokesperson for the National Truckers Association -- a recently formed group of independent truckers in Ontario -- said the government wasn't offering any feasible solutions despite its previous promises.

"(The government) isn't helping," said communications coordinator Heather Whyte.

A planned protest was averted two weeks ago after Economic Development Minister Al Palladini offered to force trucking companies and shippers to pass on profits from fuel charges to help truckers.

Whyte said independent truck drivers would consider on Oct. 15 whether to protest in retaliation at a meeting in Oshawa, Ont.

"The members will decide what the next step is. We've been very patient so far and it's not working," said Whyte.

Truckers have said fuel costs have risen about 75 per cent in the past year.

-- Rachel Gibson (, October 05, 2000

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