NEWS RELEASE April 21, 2004
BC SHIPYARD GENERAL WORKERS' FEDERATION
Washington Marine Group confirms it has been excluded from bidding for 2 new Super-C Class ferries worth $220 million that would create more than 1,500 jobs; Shipyard Workers Federation says BC government should insist on build-in-BC
VANCOUVER - With the Washington Marine Group confirming today that it has been excluded from bidding on construction of 2 Super-C Class ferries for BC Ferry Services, the Shipyard General Workers Federation is calling on the provincial government to intervene and demand new ferries be built in British Columbia.
“With just this one disastrous decision alone, BC shipyards and workers will lose more than 1,500 jobs and $220 million in investment,” says Federation president George MacPherson. “But BC Ferry Services plans on spending up to $2 billion in total for new ships in the years ahead – that investment and those jobs should be in British Columbia, not South Korea or Germany or China.”
WMG senior vice-president Rollie Webb confirmed in Province and CKNW reports today that the firm, which owns Vancouver Shipyards, has been told by BC Ferry Services that it will not be allowed to bid for the 2 new superferries.
The WMG statement confirmed information released by Shipyard General Workers Federation Tuesday, based on sources within the ferry system.
MacPherson said it is clear that BC Ferry Services spokesman Mark Stefanson and Transportation Minister Kevin Falcon are not being straightforward with the public about their intention to export BC jobs and investment to foreign countries. He said both Falcon and Stefanson indicated no decision had been made to exclude BC bidders but clearly WMG has heard differently.
“BC shipyards and shipyard workers are not only being denied jobs and investment, the BC government and BC Ferry Services isn't even giving us a fair chance to compete with foreign shipyards,” MacPherson said.
“We know that when you factor in the benefits of direct and indirect job creation, workers and companies paying taxes here in BC and the boost this gives local industries to bring in additional shipyard work, that the BC government should insist on investing in our province, not in South Korea or Germany or China ,” MacPherson said.
The construction job would create about 1,500 direct and indirect jobs over three years.
For more information, contact 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.