HALIFAX, June 25, 2014 /CNW/ - Unifor is marking the International Day of the Seafarer on June 25 by encouraging members to share their gratitude on social media to acknowledge the workers who serve to connect the world's economies.
"Canada is a resource-rich country and a third of our GDP comes from the products we export," says Jerry Dias, Unifor National President. "The difficult jobs of those at sea support industries across our country and bring the very best of Canada to the rest of the world."
The average contract of a worker on board a vessel is nine months and they face increasingly rough oceans, tough and often dangerous working conditions and spend long periods of time away from family and friends. Thousands of Canadians also work at guiding these ships safely into and out of port, catching fish, manning ferries, tugs, barges, water taxis, SeaBuses and patrol boats. Most are unionized workers, represented by various unions including Unifor.
Crew on board foreign vessels in Canada are mostly represented by seafarers' unions affiliated to the International Transport Workers Federation (ITF).
The International Maritime Organization (IMO) has started a campaign called "Thank you, Seafarers" to encourage people to share the items that are brought to them by seafarers by using the hashtag #thankyouseafarers across social media platforms. For more information, and to share your support on IMO's virtual wall, visit http://dayoftheseafarer2014.imo.org.
Unifor was founded Labour Day weekend 2013 when the Canadian Auto Workers and the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers unions merged. With more than 305,000 members, Unifor is Canada's largest union in the private sector.
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Shelley Burgoyne, Communications (Atlantic)