NEWS RELEASE August 4, 2004
BC Ferry Services will contract out construction of new Gulf Island ferries to a Poland shipyard, political insiders' newsletter claims; BC Shipyard Workers Federation demands government order BC Ferry Services' bidding process be made fair to local shipyards and workers
VANCOUVER The BC Shipyard General Workers' Federation is demanding that the BC Liberal provincial government order BC Ferry Services to make its bidding process fair to local shipyards and workers after a Victoria-based political newsletter claimed new ferries to service the Gulf Islands will be contracted out to a shipyard in Poland.
The latest news of more BC jobs and investment going to a foreign country follows the BC Ferry Services decision to give a contract worth $500 million and 2000 direct jobs to build 3 Super C class ships to either a German or Finnish shipyard.
The August edition of BC Political Insider says BC Ferry Services has decided to build new small ferries to replace existing vessels serving the Gulf Islands in Poland , according to its sources. BC Political Insider is a monthly publication edited by former BC Liberal caucus communications director Ian Jessop and former NDP government staffer Brad Zubyk and is only available by subscription for $960 per year.
George MacPherson, president of the BC Shipyard General Workers' Federation, says the information about giving more ferry construction work to another foreign shipyard is disturbing but fits a pattern BC Ferry Services has been following for the past two years.
If BC Ferry Services would give a $500 million job to Germany or Finland without any regard to the lost investment and jobs here at home, why wouldn't they also give away smaller projects that could be built in British Columbia too? MacPherson asked. It's time the BC government stopped pretending it has nothing to do with BC Ferry Services and started demanding some fairness and accountability in the tendering process, before the BC shipyard industry disappears to Europe.
On Tuesday BC Ferry Services CEO David Hahn said the corporation intends to internationally bid out all refit work on existing ferries and contracts, including on ferries smaller than the Super C class ships.
MacPherson said that in February 2003 BC Ferry Services cancelled an international tender that Vancouver Shipyards was low bidder on to construct a replacement Bowen Island ferry. That ferry project, which was worth about $30 million, has never been re-tendered.
In another development, Katherine Whittred, Liberal MLA for North Vancouver-Lonsdale, has written an open letter to Hahn, calling on BC Ferry Services to improve its tendering process. Whittred joins fellow Liberal MLAs Dan Jarvis and Barry Penner in criticizing the decision to give the Super C class ferry contract to foreign shipyards.
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