Setting a Strong Course: SIU Members Update – March 2019

March 11, 2019

It has been full steam ahead for President James Given in the new year.


Known for always standing up for Canadian seafarers, on February 11, President Given stood in solidarity with our brothers and sisters in Australia when he led a protest of Canadian seafarers outside the Australian embassy in Ottawa.


While many of us returned to stable employment after the holiday break, 80 hard-working Australian seafarers returned to work only to find their employment contracts terminated due to the lack of protections for seafarers in the country.


Standing in front of a raucous crowd of SIU members in Ottawa, President Given delivered a strong message of support, which was broadcast throughout Australia on the national news that evening:


“Your politicians are going to hear your voice. They’re going to hear our voices and they’re going to hear the voices in Britain, and in Norway, and in Brazil, and in New Zealand, and all across the world until you do the right thing. Put Australian seafarers back to work.”


After years of fighting tirelessly to protect Canadian maritime jobs, the SIU is proud that Canada is now world renowned for our progressive cabotage laws. And we will continue to fight for stricter enforcement of Cabotage Law here at home and abroad.


Later in the month, President Given participated in a technical meeting at Employee and Social Development Canada (ESDC) on the development of a new Labour Market Information (LMI) tool for the Temporary Foreign Worker Program. The purpose of the new LMI tool is to ensure TFWP officers have access to relevant data in order to properly assess wage and job vacancy rates when processing applications to the program.


In 2018, thanks to SIU advocacy efforts, the TFWP maritime policy was changed. It now requires employers to first circulate any available positions on board the majority of vessels obtaining a Coasting Trade waiver with the SIU. This ensures Canadian worker have first access to jobs.


Always on the lookout for new opportunities for Canadian seafarers, President Given also recently traveled to Bergen, Norway for meetings with a Norwegian shipping company considering marine operations in Canada and looking to recruit Canadian seafarers.


At the end of February, President Given visited Australia to continue showing solidarity with our brothers and sisters in Australia, wrapping up what has been a long, hard month of fighting for the rights of seafarers in Canada and around the globe.


Taking a lot of positive momentum into the month March, President Given is looking forward to a busy schedule that will see him continue to work tirelessly on behalf of his brothers and sisters in the SIU.