November 5, 2019 – Unifor is reminding Irving Shipbuilding, Inc. that creating and maintaining Canadian jobs is a key component of the Canadian Shipbuilding Strategy and should remain the top priority.
“The spirit and intent of the Canadian Shipbuilding Strategy is to revitalize our Canadian Navy while creating and supporting good shipbuilding jobs here at home and that’s not what’s happening here,” said Jerry Dias, Unifor National President. “Members are rightly concerned that Irving is more interested in looking for ways to outsource than fulfilling its commitment to increase Nova Scotia’s skilled workforce.”
Irving notified the union it plans to change its procurement process to buy pre-fabricated pipe sections from an unknown supplier, rather than ordering parts and having workers at Marine Fabricators in Dartmouth assemble the pipes. It is unknown if the supplier is Canadian or if parts will come from overseas.
“Unifor members across all sectors lobbied hard for shipbuilding jobs to come to Halifax and to stay here through two very popular campaigns,” said Linda MacNeil, Atlantic Regional Director. “Last year’s Ships Stay Here campaign resonated with the public because Nova Scotians value and need good jobs. Our members feel their hard work to fight to ensure the work remains at the Halifax Irving Shipyard is being ignored.”
The union has received no indication of how long this procurement “pilot program” will last or what the conditions are for its continuation.
“How much money is this pilot project truly saving taxpayers if the income base disappears and ever-increasing portions of the federal shipbuilding money is spent outside Canada?” said Dias. “This flies in the face of our Halifax shipbuilders, Canada’s procurement mandate and everyone who supported Ships Start Here and Ships Stay Here.”