Trucker protest halts $1.4B parkway project
Drivers already received one raise, according to contractor spokesperson
Truck drivers working on the $1.4-billion Windsor-Essex Parkway project brought construction to a halt Friday.
In protest of rising fuel prices and low wages, truck drivers stopped working and parked their trucks along parts of Matchette Road near E.C. Row.
The truck companies and drivers are subcontracted by Amico Contracting of Oldcastle, Ont.
"It’s about the fuel costs going up. We can’t keep absorbing the cost of the fuel," said trucker Phil Primeau, whose company owns eight trucks working on the project.
Primeau said when companies were contracted for the job, fuel cost 99 cents per litre. It’s now $1.35 per litre.
"Fuel’s gone up 40 per cent bur our wages aren’t going up," Primeau said.
That’s not true said Cindy Prince, spokesperson for Amico.
"We did meet within a week or so and did agree to raise the rate," Prince said. "They have since had further reflection."
Prince could not say what the drivers were originally being paid or how much of an increase they received.
Primeau said he and his drivers are being paid $63/hr and claimed drivers in London are making $70/hr on projects and those in Toronto are making $90/hr.
"We’re the lowest price in Ontario," Primeau said.
Primeau said driver wages run $18/hr and fuel runs $20/hr. The drivers and companies also have to pay off their $149,000 truck at a five-year amortization.
He said it leaves drivers nothing to live on.
Prince said Amico owner Dominic Amicone can relate to the drivers.
"Amico faces the same situation every day," she said.
Prince said Amico has 100 pieces of its own heavy equipment operating on site each day.
"He is well aware of the impact of fuel cost," Prince said of the owner. "Mr. Amicone agreed to meet with them and review the circumstances."
Work at the Matchette Road site will not continue Friday or Saturday. Work at the Highway 401 site will.
"The fashion they went about getting their message across is not appropriate and not safe for the community," Prince said. "Mr Amicone wishes people make their statement in a different way."