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Canadian seafarers back striking colleagues

27 October 2017

The Seafarers’ International Union of Canada (SIU) is backing its colleagues in the Canadian Merchant Services Guild over the deployment of foreign crews on two foreign-owned tankers in Canadian waters. 

Algoma Tankers has been using foreign crews to staff its Gibraltar-flagged Sten Idun and Singapore-flagged Bro Agnus while the maritime officers take strike action over their contracts. The SIU is supporting the merchant officers in arguing that the use of foreign workers to replace Canadian workers on strike is illegal strikebreaking, breaching the terms of Canada’s temporary foreign worker rules.

SIU president James Given said: “We deem this action as strike breaking and demand Algoma Tankers Ltd cease the use of these two vessels immediately.” SIU crews working on the tankers have been laid off as a result of the officers’ action, but this is standard procedure under collective trade union agreements.

The union points out that the company has also not been paying the foreign workers their wages, owing them approximately CDN400,000 for the time they have been working in Canadian waters. The SIU said these foreign-flagged vessels should leave Canadian waters immediately, and called on the government of Canada to address the issue.


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