Ferry Workers' Union Questions Data used in Government Consultation Process

VANCOUVER, Nov. 20, 2012 /CNW/ - BC Ferry & Marine Workers' Union is questioning the information provided by the Provincial Government in its B.C. Consultation and Engagement process for changes to the Coastal Ferry Services Contract.  "We have concerns about the data that the Government is using to determine potential service cuts," BCFMWU President, Chris Abbott said in Nanaimo today.

"Quite simply the data has to be accurate. Economies of coastal communities depend on verifiable and complete information for them to be able to provide input on this vital service. Everyone has been impacted by rising costs associated with ever- escalating ferry fares and the service cuts that have already been implemented by the ferry operator. It would be irresponsible for the Government to cut service based on the information provided so far."

"When the Government spends over half a million on a consulting process, reliant on the data as presented, which is being questioned by other organizations besides us, it calls into question the efficacy of the whole process."

Mr. Abbott is also concerned that his Union doesn't see the government looking at other ways to reduce costs other than through service cuts. This is a concern to his members not just because of the obvious implications for their employment but also for their island communities.

"From what we are hearing from our members who have attended the consultation meetings, it would appear that the Government is gearing up to make an announcement about one of two things:  either a drastic cut in service or a major subsidy increase," said Abbott.

For Example:

MV Howe Sound Queen, in service on Route 6 (Vesuvius to Crofton).

The 'official' vehicle capacity of the Howe Sound Queen is given in the government's data as 70 Automobile Equivalent Units in the Coastal Ferry Service Contract. However, the current HSQ Vessel Specific Manual identifies the capacity as 55 AEQ.

For more examples click on the links below:

House Sound Queen Capacity
Internal Ramp
Spirit Comparison to Coastal Celebration
http://bccoastaltransportation.ca/


SOURCE: BC Ferry and Marine Workers' Union

For further information:

Media Contact:
Chris Abbott
BCFMWU Provincial President
250-716-3454/1-800-663-7009
chrisabbott@bcfmwu.com