SIU of Canada Taking Action to Stop Foreign Cabotage and Strike Breaking

October 24, 2017
Calling on Algoma Tankers Ltd. and Federal Government to enforce laws and protect Canadian workers

Montreal, QC – The Seafarers’ International Union of Canada (SIU) has contacted Algoma Tankers Ltd., strongly urging them to immediately cease illegal strike breaking. Algoma Tankers Limited is currently using temporary foreign workers in Canada after Canadian officers commenced legal strike actions on October 21. Using foreign workers to replace Canadians on strike is illegal.


The SIU has also contacted the federal department of Economic & Social Development Canada (ESDC), as the work permits for the foreign crew are in contravention of Canadian labour law. The Temporary Foreign Worker Program rules set out by ESDC clearly state that foreign workers cannot be used to replace striking Canadian workers.


“These vessels should not proceed past their current locations in Canada,” says SIU President James Given. “We deem this action as strike breaking and demand Algoma Tankers Ltd. cease the use of these two vessels immediately.”


Further, Algoma Tankers Ltd. has not been paying foreign workers their wages, with approximately $400,000 CDN owed to the crew of vessels Sten Idun and Bro Agnus for the time they have been sailing in Canadian Cabotage.


“We will fight for all sailors working in Canadian waters, foreign or domestic,” says Given. “Foreign workers must be paid all wages owed to them immediately. We are taking action to ensure Algoma Tankers Ltd. is compliant with both the Temporary Foreign Worker Program and Canadian Cabotage Law.”


The right to strike is firmly entrenched in Canadian labour laws. Algoma Tankers cannot abuse these laws by replacing a striking crew with temporary foreign workers. The SIU will stand up for all seafarers in this situation. We strongly encourage these foreign flag vessels to leave Canadian waters immediately, and we call upon the Government of Canada to address this issue.



About the SIU of Canada

The Seafarers’ International Union of Canada (SIU) is affiliated with the Seafarers’ International Union of North America serving unlicensed sailors since 1938. The most important sailors’ union in Canada, the SIU represents the majority of unlicensed sailors working aboard vessels on the Great Lakes, the St. Lawrence River, on the East and West Coasts. In addition to vessels operated in Canadian waters, SIU members also have the opportunity to work aboard vessels delivering cargoes in the United States, Europe and South America.