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NEWS RELEASE April 20, 2005

BC SHIPYARD GENERAL WORKERS' FEDERATION

BC Shipyard Workers Federation demands BC Ferries open up contracts to full public tender and let British Columbia companies bid after Vancouver Sun reports $800,000 lifeboat and evacuation equipment contract going to Australian company without competitive public tendering

VANCOUVER – The BC Shipyard General Workers' Federation is demanding that BC Ferries open up all contracts to full public tender and let BC companies bid on all projects after the Vancouver Sun reported that an $800,000 contract for lifeboats and evacuation slides has gone to an Australian company without competitive public tendering.

Federation President George MacPherson said it is astonishing that BC Ferries is awarding an untendered contract to a foreign company and excluding BC companies from even bidding on the job, including companies that formerly did the work.

“It is simply outrageous that BC Ferries is denying BC companies the right to even compete fairly for jobs and investment and is instead sending them without tendering to foreign firms,” MacPherson said.

“This is exactly the same thing as with three new Super C-Class ferries that BC Ferries is having built in Germany for $542 million instead of BC – BC companies are being deliberately excluded and that means British Columbia is losing jobs and investment,” MacPherson said. “It's time that BC Ferries was told by the BC government, which owns it, that these policies of awarding untendered contracts to foreign companies is unacceptable and has to change.”

MacPherson said that the $800,000 lifeboat and life slides contract going to Liferaft Systems Australia is to upgrade emergency evacuation systems on the Queen of Nanaimo . Richmond-based DBC Marine Safety Systems previously supplied most BC Ferries equipment for over 20 years, he said, noting that DBC is not a unionized firm.

And MacPherson says that Liferaft Systems Australia does not even have any servicing representatives on the west coast of North America . The company's website says servicing representatives are in Ontario , Prince Edward Island and Miami .

“It seems crazy to us that an Australian company is building lifeboats for BC Ferries and servicing them out of PEI , Ontario or Florida ,” MacPherson said.

For more information : Call George MacPherson at 604-254-8204 or cell 604-220-3291 or Bill Tieleman, West Star Communications, at 604-844-7827 or cell 778-896-0964. For background, go to www.bcshipyardworkers.com

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