N.S. ma­rine work­ers launch ‘Ships Stay Here’ cam­paign

Toronto Star - - CANADA - ALEX COOKE

HAL­I­FAX— Ship­builders at Hal­i­fax’s Irv­ing Ship­yard have launched a cam­paign to keep their work in Nova Sco­tia, as con­cerns mount over re­pair work on Hal­i­fax-class navy ships pos­si­bly be­ing trans­ferred to Davie Ship­build­ing in Que­bec.

Mem­bers of Uni­for Ma­rine Work­ers Fed­er­a­tion Lo­cal 1, the union rep­re­sent­ing about 1,000 Irv­ing work­ers, say the fed­eral gov­ern­ment has re­cently made com­ments sug­gest­ing they plan to move work to the Que­bec ship­yard.

Union of­fi­cials have launched a pe­ti­tion un­der their “Ships Stay Here” cam­paign, ask­ing peo­ple to share their sup­port for work­ers.

“The loss of this work would be a loss for the Nova Sco­tian econ­omy and fam­i­lies across the prov­ince. Lo­gis­ti­cally and eco­nom­i­cally, it makes sense to keep the work in Hal­i­fax,” read a state­ment on Uni­for’s web­site.

“With a skilled work­force, sup­plier re­la­tion­ships firmly es­tab­lished in the re­gion, an ice-free har­bour, the Royal Cana­dian Navy’s At­lantic Fleet based right next door, and decades of ex­pe­ri­ence, our mem­bers at the Irv­ing Ship­yard are best po­si­tioned to con­tinue this work. We have the ca­pac­ity and the demon­strated know-how.”

The union is also email­ing a mes­sage to sev­eral politi­cians, in­clud­ing Prime Min­is­ter Justin Trudeau.

Sean Lewis, Irv­ing Ship­build­ing’s com­mu­ni­ca­tions di­rec­tor, said in an email that Hal­i­fax-class main­te­nance sup­ports 400 jobs at the ship­yard.

“We have per­formed this work for al­most 10 years, with a cost and sched­ule rep­u­ta­tion to be proud of,” said Lewis.

In a state­ment to The Cana­dian Press last week, De­part­ment of Na­tional De­fence spokesper­son Ash­ley Lemire said the gov­ern­ment in­tends to an­nounce any changes to main­te­nance on Hal­i­fax­class frigates in the com­ing weeks.

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