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Truckers drove from Surrey to downtown Vancouver Monday in protest of rising fuel costs that have hurt their livelihood. ((CBC))

Truck operators in B.C. protested the high cost of fuel on Labour Day Monday by slowly driving their rigs from the suburban community of Surrey to downtown Vancouver.

Trucks with flags roamed down Highway 91 across the Alex Fraser Bridge, which connects Richmond and New Westminster, and then drove along Knight Street into the downtown core.

The protest joined a general Labour Day rally organized by the B.C. Federation of Labour outside the Vancouver Art Gallery, which urged the provincial government to hike minimum wage to $10 per hour from $8, the level at which it was frozen seven years ago.

High fuel costs are hurting some 1,000 truckers who haul containers from Lower Mainland ports in the Metro Vancouver area, said Paul Uppal, the head of Local 2006 of the Canadian Auto Workers Union, formerly the Vancouver Container Truckers Association.

"We just want to get the message out that the [high cost of] fuel is affecting … a lot more to the truckers than the average individual," Uppal said Monday.

He said some companies in the industry are reluctant to pay a fuel surcharge to offset the rising cost of fuel.

"The industry that we're in right now, it's hard for our company owners to go to their customers and get a fuel surcharge. Some of the companies are willing to pay it, but some aren't."

Uppal said he wants to see the fuel surcharge better administered.

The trucker union will bring up the issue of rising fuel costs to employers when the two sides enter contract negotiations at the end of the year, he said.