Government Crane Project Ignores Canadian Workers

VANCOUVER, March 31 /CNW/ - Twenty-five Chinese workers are being brought in to erect a crane at a Federal Government shipyard, while fully qualified Canadian ironworkers stand by without work.

"It's unbelievable that our members have over 50 percent unemployment on Vancouver Island and the Federal government allows Chinese workers to do the work," said James Leland, Business Manager, Ironworkers Local 97, at a unemployed Canadian workers rally at the Government's Esquimalt Graving Dock just outside of Victoria, B.C. "What's even more of a travesty, is that Canadian ironworkers built the other cranes at the Graving Dock."

Speaking to a workers rally this morning at the Graving Docks, Leland said, "This is a Canadian infrastructure project. Why are Chinese workers being brought in to do work that fully qualified Canadian tradespeople -- who are currently unemployed -- can do?"

"The government claims these Chinese workers have specialized skills and the crane can't be erected without them. You only have to compare our safety and construction record to that of the Chinese to know that claim is a farce. The bottom line is that our Federal Government doesn't care. No other country allows foreign workers to come in with boots on the ground to do the jobs their own skilled workers are ready and able to do," said Leland.

The new 30 tonne crane will be erected at the Esquimalt Graving Dock over the next three months.

"Canadians need to be concerned that the Federal Government is ignoring Canadian workers," said Leland. "It's time for them to give jobs to Canadians for projects paid for by Canadian taxpayers."

SOURCE IRONWORKERS LOCAL 97

For further information: For further information: James Leland, (604) 908-5687

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IRONWORKERS LOCAL 97

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