Specialty welders brought in for Long Harbour

Ashley Fitzpatrick
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Incentive program is helping to meet deadlines: spokesman

An incentive program to trades workers at the Vale N.L. Long Harbour construction site appears to be paying off.  The company is also bringing temporary workers from Ireland to undertake welding duties. — Telegram file photo

There has been some payoff from the millions of dollars Vale Newfoundland and Labrador put into raising the pay for workers at the Long Harbour construction site.

The company brought in an incentive program on

July 15, amounting to a $2-$10 per hour pay raise for trades workers.

The top benefits are to be paid only if the project comes in as scheduled.

The pay raise was, in part, an effort to keep skilled workers from leaving for other construction work.

“The turnover has slowed down,” said Vale spokesman Bob Carter,  who was asked about the results this week.

Carter said there continues to be some challenge with absences from site, but added several factors come into play there, including planned vacations.

Irish contributions

For at least one specialty trade area, Vale has turned to temporary foreign workers from Ireland to make sure the job gets done.

“Some temporary foreign workers, if not in the province, are en route,” Carter said, adding the workers are welders.

The welders are journeypersons and have needed specialty certifications, allowing them to work with materials like stainless steel.

Looking ahead, Vale had already applied and was granted a temporary foreign worker permit from the federal government, allowing the company to bring in the specialty welders.

The push is now on to complete construction.

About 5,000 people are employed on the project.

The workforce at site is expected to drop to about a third of its current level by early 2014.

Geographic location: Long Harbour, Ireland

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Recent comments

    October 08, 2013 - 21:17

    maybe im qualified in your job i been worked in japan for 3 years as a welder in shipyard im a hardworker and willing to do anything

  • brenda binions
    September 15, 2013 - 16:07

    my husband is a qualified welder without a job in ireland. he was recruited for 13 weeks work in newfoundland . he refused several job offer in ireland on the strength of this offer. he spent the last 3 weeks in long harbour available for work and being paid . however there was no work for him and the other 26 welders who were there from ireland. they all expected three months work and were all disappointed to be expelled yesterday suddenly . without warning with 10 minutes to pack their their bags not fair in any civilized country

  • Patrick Veinot
    September 04, 2013 - 09:54

    This is the fruits of Harpers "Low wage economy for Canada." The Liberals started this early 2000's and the Conservatives stepped it up in 06. Vale is a preditor and tried to bring in temporary workers during our 18 month strike in Voisey's Bay. please go to www.everyoneschance.ca and share your comments Solidarity Patrick.

  • wording is everything
    August 24, 2013 - 20:04

    I am on the front lines everyday at Long Harbour and I AM A UNION TRADESMAN! The line" Vale has turned to temporary foreign workers from Ireland to make sure the job gets done." Is a kick in the face for every welder on site. Our welders are welding carbon steel, Stainless steel, alloy 59, and titanium everyday. I have been there on site for a year now and can clearly see the real reason why the job is behind schedule. Nothing against honest workers from outside Newfoundland because I too have spent time travelling for work, but we can hold our own in skilled tradesmen and women! This article just makes the hard working men and woman that are on site look like unskilled trades men ! Wording is everything !

  • Robert Fiander
    August 24, 2013 - 18:55

    The management of Ua local 740 promotes above all else trades men and women from Newfoundland and Labrador as well as every other province in Canada. I can assure you that the promotion of trades men and women in Canada has always been first and foremost from Ua local 740 perspective. There have been open calls for journeyman welders with experience in pipe welding of various alloys since early spring. Anyone meeting the qualifications has been given the opportunity to come work on the project. We have over 300 welders on site now and still have calls available for qualified welders. Please contact Ua local 740 at 709 747 2249 if you are interested, we will advise you of the qualifications required to come work on the project. Just for clarification, while the qualifications are what I would consider to be of a highly skilled nature I wouldn't say the Irish welders are coming to do specialty welding that can't be done by trades men and women from Canada. The reality is there are skilled workers in Canada that can do this work without question, it's just that these workers have chosen to work on other jobs and projects in Canada. Right now pipe welders are in high demand in many provinces including NL, B.C, AB, and Sask. just to name a few and it's created a shortage in the near term. Once again if there are qualified welders within Canada interested in coming to work on the long harbour project feel free to call the union office we will do everything possible to help you obtain employment on the project.

  • Keith Fillier
    August 22, 2013 - 22:39

    I think bringimg in foreiners to do this is a load of.crap. We have skilled workers who can do this work Vale has wanted to do this from the start. They wouldn.'t try this in Quebec. STAND UP NEWFS AND PROTECT YOUR JOBS!!!!

  • welder by trade
    August 22, 2013 - 19:44

    too bad the majority of welders from ireland FAILED their job test for welding!!! their are at least 50 welders in the building i work in @ long harbour who have no welding to do. the union hall will not train welders currently on the project from newfoundland but they bring in foriegn workers who can't weld based on canadain welding procedures!!!

  • owne mcbride
    August 22, 2013 - 16:34

    Thank Kathy Blunderdale! Of course their putting a spin on it for the media. Send vale executives out on the shit house door off the titanic.

  • Daz
    August 22, 2013 - 13:08

    I work there and that raise incentive is bs there are so many stipulations in getting the raise and even if you manage to get it ,its taxed like crazy as for bringing in Irish workers bs too vale just wants the union out of there to hire non union anyone on the front lines in the plant would tell ya that !!!! its all a show for the media and it working apparently !

    • Ashley Fitzpatrick
      August 22, 2013 - 14:04

      "Anyone on the front lines" can feel free to get in touch. For anyone who believes they have been unfairly denied work, who have evidence of union-busting efforts, or are not getting incentives as promised, I can be reached at afitzpatrick@thetelegram.com or 364-2323.

  • Paddy
    August 22, 2013 - 11:45

    I am a stainless steel welder and can do this work but could not get a job in long harbour. I am not in the pipefitters union but called a bunch of times to try to get a job with no luck. Not sure how to go about it but I think the union wants tfw to do the job. It's not only me that is calling the union a few of my buddy's from Atlantic Canada did to with no luck. Most of us are members of unions in alberta with the boilermakers. It's kind if bad when they is all this work in nfld and I have to go to another province to work. But bring the foreign workers in I am sure they will do a real good job lol

  • DWH
    August 22, 2013 - 10:45

    I have heard form more than one person that the trades unions are a real old boys network. No wonder they don't have any foresight. Their heads are too far up certain body orifices to see anything clearly. Time for the members to dump their current executives.

  • Red
    August 22, 2013 - 09:48

    Yes Vale has to hurry up. After killing 10 or so ponds they need to poison the ocean and that takes a long time. They pull this exact crap everywhere they operate in the world. We woild be better off if we never heard of this company.

  • gotmegradeten
    August 22, 2013 - 09:14


  • Disgusted
    August 22, 2013 - 07:42

    I am disgusted, that our current goverment and the unions have shown again, a lack of forsight to ensure our Newfoundland welders had this training before the project began. I wish all these politicans, union reps and managers would start doing thier job for a change and earn those big sallary's they make.