Friday, September 19, 2008

Coal trucks can roll past pickets, N.S. court rules

Locked-out stevedores in Sydney have been ordered to let coal trucks pass through their picket line.

A Nova Scotia Supreme Court justice ruled Thursday that the workers must not disrupt the flow of trucks in and out of the coal piers, but didn't limit the number of pickets.

Bobby Burchell, with the United Mine Workers union, said the workers can try to explain their case to the drivers.

"We do have the right to approach anyone crossing the picket line, telling them why we're here, what the situation is, and asking them if they would honour our picket lines," he said. "If they do not want to honour the picket lines, legally we have to allow them to go through."

The trucks usually haul close to 1,700 tonnes of coal a day to a nearby Nova Scotia Power plant, where it's used to generate electricity.

On Tuesday, the second day of the lockout, several drivers refused to cross the picket line and were eventually sent away by their own managers.

Logistec Stevedoring applied for the injunction to ensure the trucks had access to the worksite.

The company and its 18 unionized workers are locked in a dispute over wages.

The workers say they are paid $10 an hour less than Logistec's employees in Halifax and New Brunswick.

The company has refused to comment on the lockout.

  • Lockout keeps Sydney coal from power plant
  • After court ruling, UC employees question whistle-blowing
  • Lawsuit highlights conflicted views on “guest workers”