A group of truck drivers, called Justice For Truck Drivers, held a rally outside the Labour Program office in Toronto last weekend, calling on the federal government to better regulate employer carriers to stop labour abuse, what they say is ‘wage theft’ and to better regulate the trucking industry.
As reported by Toronto media, the drivers claim their employers aren’t paying them money owed.
“There’s literally no fear amongst employers to break the law,” said Navi Aujla, the executive director of Labour Community Services of Peel, who says her office receives hundreds of requests for help from frustrated truck drivers. “We’ve had over 160 truck drivers call us in the last two years because wage theft is so rampant in the industry and the numbers only keep growing.”
The Canadian Trucking Alliance has been trying to shed light on these and other related labour issues in trucking. Carriers who operate the scheme known as Driver Inc – where they improperly misclassify employee drivers as independent operators to avoid paying taxes and benefits and provide protections to workers – also often tend to disregard many labour rules and responsibilities, including withholding various other payments.
“I did not get my first paycheck until three months after I started working,” Manjinder Singh a new driver, told CityNews. He said is he owned more than $10,000. “When you’re not getting paid every week, why should you keep working.”
The federal Labour Program is meant to help wage earners dispute payment issues with their employers without having to hire a lawyer and go to small claims court. But Singh says there are problems when it comes to enforcing payment orders.
“The payment order that they give to the employer, it’s nothing for the employer. The employer just looks at it and does nothing – it doesn’t scare (them).”
The group is planning to hold a town hall at the Jim Archdekin Recreation Centre on Conestoga Drive in Brampton on July 22 to discuss further how truckers can come together to demand better working conditions and protections.