NEWS RELEASE May 10, 2005
BC Ferries says “Auf Wiedersehen!” to $1 million; BC Shipyard Workers Federation says BC Ferries spending over $1 million on staff costs to build 3 Super C Class ferries in Germany, including travel and accommodation costs; $81,000 spent in first half of 2004 alone before contract awarded
VANCOUVER – BC Ferries is saying “Auf Wiedersehen” – German for goodbye - to more than $1 million as it racks up huge bills for travel and accommodation for staff flying to and staying in Germany to supervise construction of three new Super-C Class ferries, says the BC Shipyard General Workers' Federation.
Federation president George MacPherson says he believes BC Ferries will have spent more than $1 million through 2005 in costs related solely to BC Ferries' executives and engineers flying back and forth to Germany 's Flensburger Shipyard, where the ferries are being built.
And the Federation says rumours are rampant that BC Ferries is actually buying housing for staff who will be stationed in Germany and their families. MacPherson said the Federation is aware that a number BC Ferries engineers will be staying in Germany for up to the full three years that the ferry construction project will take.
Federation president George MacPherson says confidential documents obtained last year showed that BC Ferry Services had spent $81,000 for 10 executive trips to Europe by July of 2004, before the $542 million German ferry contract was even signed.
“We believe that BC Ferries will easily spend more than $1 million on staff travel and accommodations by the end of this year alone,” MacPherson said. “That is another terrible waste of money on top of the cost of losing 5000 direct and indirect jobs in British Columbia .”
MacPherson called on BC Ferries to release full details of its travel and accommodation expenditures related to the German contract, saying that because the BC Liberal government removed BC Ferries from legislative scrutiny and exempted it from freedom of information requests, there is no way of knowing how much it is spending.
“British Columbians fund and own BC Ferries and they deserve to know what BC Ferries is doing with their money,” MacPherson said. “Is BC Ferries buying houses in Germany ? Are its executives flying first-class to Europe ? What cost controls are there on this project?”
Documents previously obtained by the Federation showed that 10 executives from BC Ferries spent $81,144.08 for six trips to London , England and four trips to Denmark for what is described as “model testing.”
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