President’s Update: May 2019

June 11, 2019

President Given has had a busy several months, working hard alongside other maritime stakeholders to protect our industry globally.

Earlier this Spring, President Given and other SIU of Canada delegates attended Canadian Marine Advisory Council (CMAC) and ITF Canada Coordinating Committee meetings in Ottawa. These important meetings help ensure the SIU of Canada and Canadian seafarers’ voices are heard as a major stakeholder in the maritime industry.

President Given also travelled to Genoa, Italy to participate in the ITF Seafarers’ Section and Fair Practices Committee Steering Group meetings. The fair committee is a joint committee of ITF Seafarers’ and Dockers’ unions which runs the ITF’s campaign against Flag of Convenience (FOC) vessels. President Given sits on the committee and the steering group as regional chair for North America.

All through the Spring months, President Given continued the push in Australia to participate in demonstrations, speak with Australian Government officials and assist the MUA in their struggle to gain back Cabotage laws in Australian shipping. His efforts earned him a top spot in the evening news in Australia, highlighting the important fight for strong cabotage for all of Australia to see.

Some members might be wondering why we’re pushing so hard to support our Aussie brothers and sisters. The Australian shipping industry is facing serious threats amid countless layoffs and a negligent lack of basic protections for domestic maritime workers.  In Canada, we faced similar threats back in 2015 so we know firsthand the uphill battle our brothers and sisters in Australia have ahead of them. It is our responsibility as fellow mariners to stand up and fight back against those working to undermine our industry and the protection of our workers.

We can see another threat coming this year if the Conservatives win the federal election in October. The Conservative Party historically has never supported Cabotage Law, and they are also typically more focused on corporations increasing profits, sometimes at the expense of Canadian workers.

As part of the SIU and the ITF’s work in solidarity with our Aussie brothers and sisters, President Given along with several of our members, participated in the May 8th Day of Action to support Australian Seafarers in Montreal. Thank you to all who attended and offered their support.

President Given wants to make sure what has happened in Australia does not happen in Canada, and that is why the Union is encouraging members to vote Liberal in the federal election. Seafarers’ jobs depend on it.