Craftsman truckers demanding compensation to absorb the rise in diesel prices could paralyze the Ministry of Transport of Quebec (MTQ) construction sites if there is no agreement by Friday evening.
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The National Association of Artisan Truckers (ANCAI), whose members demonstrated in various regions of the province on Monday, wants to continue to put pressure on the government.
Beginning May 14, drivers who want Quebec to adjust their fares to reflect the new reality for the price of diesel will be asked to stop driving to MTQ construction sites, whether for culverts, overpasses, or road widening, among others.
This invitation should remain in effect until agreement is reached with the department. Craftsman truck drivers can join the movement or continue working.
“There are truckers from several regions who will stop,” warns ANCAI Director General Gaétan Légaré, noting the impact on construction sites such as that for the Highway 50 widening in Outaouais.
His association, which has 5,200 members, reckons it will generate “between $500 and $600 million” a year for the mass transportation industry from light truck drivers.
“We will display a reference price for our fuel on our website. If people want to hire us at that price yes we will provide service. Otherwise we stay at home,” says Mr. Légaré.
The latter says the ministry will most likely have to turn to private companies to keep its services running if there is no agreement by the end of the week and the bill may be higher.
According to the managing director, several Québec truck drivers can no longer be profitable because of the price of diesel.
As of Tuesday, MTQ could not say how many locations could be affected by this service disruption.
Effects on timelines
According to Truck Stop Québec’s Benoit Therrien, this decision by artisan truckers could actually impact MTQ deadlines depending on the duration of this movement.
“It’s safe. Removing just 50% of the trucks is 50% longer than it will take,” he points out. “You can also use other leverage to slow down careers or sandpits,” he adds.
Mr. Therrien believes many truckers could exit this trade due to multiple cost increases over the past few years. Insurance has gone up, as have the prices of repairs and tires, buying a truck and fuel.