Union Exposes Threats to Nation’s Cabotage Laws
The International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) recently commended the Seafarers International Union of Canada for its work in revealing abuses of a permit licensing system that risked undermining the nation’s cabotage laws and shipping capability.
ITF Seafarers’ Section Chair David Heindel stated, “The investigative work of the union has forced an admission from the Canadian government that at least 11 work permits have been illegally issued – and this may be just the tip of the iceberg. What the SIU of Canada has uncovered looks very much like the illegal and systematic granting of permits to the crews of hundreds of foreign-flag ships working Canadian waters, despite the availability of Canadian seafarers to serve on them.”
Heindel is also the secretary- treasurer of the Seafarers International Union, Atlantic, Gulf, Lakes and Inland Waters. The SIU is an ITF affiliate and also is affiliated with the SIU of Canada through the Seafarers International Union of North America (SIUNA).
ITF President Paddy Crumlin added, “The Federal Court of Canada has caught the government out either actively undermining or colluding in the undermining of Canadian national law. That law is designed to ensure that the country retains and treasures its naval capability and the employment of citizens and the support of their communities.”
He continued, “We believe that the people of Canada understand the need for maritime cabotage and all that it brings to their country. They will be shocked to see it being abused in this way. The ITF and all our unions applaud the work done by the SIU of Canada to defend it and expose this wrongdoing.”
In a prepared statement about the Federal Court victory, SIU of Canada President James Given said, “It is outrageous that temporary foreign workers are being granted work permits to crew these oil tankers, while qualified Canadian seafarers are unemployed. This is a big win for our members, who are trained and available to crew these oil tankers. The SIU of Canada will keep fighting until these flag-of-convenience vessels shipping in Canadian waters are crewed by Canadian seafarers.”