International Journal of Comparative Labour Law and Industrial Relations

Volume 32 (2016)

Volume 32 (2016) / Issue 3

Urwana Coiquaud, 'The Obligation to Be Available: The Case of the Trucking Industry' (2016) 32 International Journal of Comparative Labour Law and Industrial Relations, Issue 3, pp. 322–343


Since the advent of the Industrial Revolution, working time has become the central focus of productive organizations. However, the heterogeneity of employment status has transformed the nature of a homogeneous and uniform working time by introducing unpredictability. It is not clear whether labour regulation can decipher this reality in all of its dimensions, or whether it offers adequate protection. Our research will focus on the Canadian regulatory framework for working time among wage-earning unionized truck drivers in the for-hire trucking industry at the international or interprovincial level. After first examining the formal rules and their case law interpretation, we will seek to better understand the obligation to be available by using the field survey method, conducted in 2014, which is essential to ‘grasp law and social practices in their interactive dynamics’. The interviews reveal that, despite extensive regulation, drivers are nevertheless subject to an obligation to be available, which can be explained by the latitude the actors have in interpreting or using the formal statement of rules, a latitude that contributes to deteriorating working conditions among truck drivers. Thus, at the margins of formal labour law, a substantial informal normative system has developed which generates this third time.

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ISSN: 0952-617X
ID: IJCL2016017