NEWS RELEASE August 3, 2004
Comments today by BC Ferry Services CEO David Hahn indicate BC shipyard industry could be permanently put out of ferry construction and repair business through exporting refit and small ferry building to foreign shipyards, says BC Shipyard Workers Federation
VANCOUVER – Comments today by BC Ferry Services CEO David Hahn indicate that BC's shipyard industry could be permanently put out of the ferry construction and repair business through the exporting of small ferry building and refit work to foreign shipyards, says the BC Shipyard General Workers' Federation.
Hahn told CKNW radio host Bill Good today that BC Ferry Services intends to internationally bid out all refit work on existing ferries and contracts to build ferries smaller than the 3 Super C class ships that the corporation is attempting to send to a German or Finnish shipyard.
BC Shipyard General Workers' Federation president George MacPherson said that BC Ferry Services has already refused to allow Vancouver Shipyards to bid on the Super C class ferries and that it cancelled an international tender that Vancouver Shipyards was low bidder on to construct a replacement Bowen Island ferry in February 2003. That ferry project, which was worth about $30 million, has never been re-tendered.
“BC Ferry Services has consistently favoured foreign shipyard bids over BC companies and we have no doubt that with Mr. Hahn's statement today, we will see more and more work go overseas until there is no BC ferry shipyard business left in the province,” MacPherson said.
MacPherson said BC Ferry Services issued a tender for the Bowen ferry project to nine shipyards in five countries – Japan , Poland , Spain , the Netherlands and Canada – but when Vancouver Shipyards was the lowest bidder, the tender was cancelled.
“We consistently hear from Mr. Hahn that BC shipyards have to be internationally competitive but when we are competitive and beat the foreign shipyards, the project is cancelled or in the case of the Super C class ferries, we aren't even allowed to make a bid at all,” MacPherson said. “This isn't about BC shipyards being unable to compete with foreign shipyards, it's about BC shipyards being absolutely shut out of competing at all.”
MacPherson said it was ironic that while BC Liberal MLAs and North Shore mayors are calling for BC shipyards to be allowed to bid on shipbuilding funded by BC taxpayers, BC Ferry Services CEO Hahn is determined to exclude BC companies and workers from getting any of the work.
Today the mayors of West Vancouver , North Vancouver City and North Vancouver District jointly called on Hahn to reconsider his decision to disqualify the local shipbuilding industry from bidding on the Super C Class ferries.
And on the weekend Liberal MLA Barry Penner (Chilliwack-Kent ) said in a letter to Hahn that BC shipyards should be given the opportunity to bid on the project. Deputy house leader Penner joins Liberal MLA Dan Jarvis (North Vancouver-Seymour) in condemning the decision, which Jarvis said was “blatantly stupid.”
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