A trade union of seamen has denounced the hiring of foreigners at low wages

trade_union_seemanThe international Union of canadian sailors (SIU) is preparing to sue the federal government before the courts concerning the use of foreign seafarers on ships flying a foreign flag in canadian waters.

The group, which represents the marine and non-patented working in all coastal waters of the country, denounced the last several months of the refusal of the shipping agents to hire canadian sailors, a phenomenon that seems to want to grow and that Ottawa would have apparently decided to ignore.

The Canadian Press has learned that the union had the intention to apply, on Tuesday, the federal Court in Vancouver to conduct a judicial review of the practice of issuing temporary work permits to foreign sailors.

The SIU has mentioned in particular the case of theAlmathea, a tanker of 60,000 tonnes-owned greeks, who recently anchored in the port of Montreal and who has received permission to transport crude oil in canadian waters until 13 September.

The contracts of employment of 14 members of the crew, obtained by The Canadian Press have hourly rates ranging from $ 2.03 to $ 8.80 per, according to the responsibilities and before the extra time.

“The government of Canada leaves foreign ships to replace thousands of skilled canadians, while 25% of our workforce are unemployed.”
James Given
, President of the union international des marins canadiens (IUS)
The president of the SIU, James Given, said, Monday, that this type of exploitation was common within the international shipping, companies frequently seamen from the Philippines, Indonesia and other poor countries for a fraction of the salary they would have paid to Canadians.

“The government of Canada leaves foreign ships to replace thousands of skilled canadians, while 25% of our workforce is unemployed, has hammered Mr. Given. The law is very simple. They give permits to foreign workers on boats in canadian waters, while the law says that these jobs should first go to qualified Canadians.”

Last year, the border services Agency of Canada has granted 142 exemptions to foreign vessels, so that their crew can work legally in Canada, even if, according to the SIU, the companies have made no effort to recruit canadian sailors. Fifty-nine exemptions have been granted so far this year.

James Given said that this was outrageous, especially in a context where more than 800 members of the SIU are without work, and that it was intended to increase the income of companies.

No one was available to comment on the matter to the office of the minister of Immigration, Chris Alexander, on Monday.

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