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'Foreign drivers not the answer to trucker shortage'

(NEWS 1130 File Photo)

VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – Some trucking companies are hoping to deal with the shortage of drivers by hiring temporary foreign workers.

But a BC labour leader says that’s not the way to address a shortage of drivers.

The trucking industry expects to lose 20 per cent of the work force due to retirement over the next ten years, and some are hoping driving will be designated a skilled trade, to make it easier to hire foreign workers.

But Jim Sinclair with the BC Federation of Labour says that’s shortsighted.

“I don’t believe in a province with 150,000 people officially unemployed that we should be using the Temporary Foreign Worker program for any of these jobs, especially in a low-skilled category like truck driver.”

In order to fill the jobs, he says we have to pay a decent wage, do more training and talk to teenagers about the benefits of such a career.

“We have to encourage people to take these jobs. And we have to pay enough to attract people. Sometimes, it’s not a labour shortage, it’s a wage shortage.”

He says the Temporary Foreign Workers program is being abused, and he says if we really needed more workers, we should let people immigrate to fill those jobs.

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As someone who has watched this industry in the last 30 years go from being able to drive truck and feed a family, to it being so mismanaged that anyone with a head on their shoulders will look at the bottom line and quit before staying in an industry that you cant make a living wage off of. Sure bring in foreign workers to do all the jobs we dont want to pay a living wage for. Next it’ll be banks, grocery stores etc.

April 07, 2014 at 12:40 pm