RDC calls for new agency

Ashley
Ashley Fitzpatrick
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Resource Development Trades Council says it would promote in-province fabrication work

Hebron public review

A statement from the Resource Development Trades Council of Newfoundland and Labrador (RDC), calling for the creation of a new provincial agency to ensure full benefits are reaped from large-scale projects, was submitted to the Hebron Public Review Commission Thursday.

The RDC is an umbrella organization for 16 building and construction trades unions operating in the province, representing workers running the gamut from carpenters and plumbers to bricklayers and operating engineers. The union collective was created to supply the labour requirements of Hibernia construction.

"Currently, the RDC is supplying the construction workforce at the Vale Long Harbour Nickel Processing Facility. The RDC recently concluded negotiations with the Hebron Project Employers Association and signed a project labour agreement on Oct. 18, 2011," read the statement to the commission.

The RDC is also in preliminary discussions with Nalcor on construction of the Lower Churchill project.

With this experience, the organization has requested a mechanism be created in this province to allow for greater control and information for work on multimillion-dollar projects.

"We recommend that the Hebron Public Review Commission consider recommending the establishment of a three-party (government, industry and labour) agency to promote the maximization of fabrication and work in the province," it stated.

"It is time we realized that generic calls for better communication, more collaboration, open dialogue and stronger partnerships with the owners are no longer sufficient.

"The tripartite agency would be maintained to ensure that the objectives and action plan set in the August 20, 2008 Hebron Benefits Agreement is diligently pursued on the basis of facts and ability."

The RDC has also requested a better definition of "first consideration" for Newfoundland and Lab-rador companies, as written in the Atlantic Accord.

The organization credited the government in the creation of the new Department of Advanced Education and Skills, as well as expressing an intent to create a Workforce Development Secretariat and creating a new deputy ministerial position for Labour Market Recruitment (major projects).

Now, "the RDC believes that we must design a new and aggressive partnership structure dedicated to maximizing benefits derived from our natural resources."

The Telegram will follow up on the RDC statement.

afitzpatrick@thetelegram.com

Organizations: RDC, Hebron Public Review Commission, Resource Development Trades Council of Newfoundland and Labrador Vale Long Harbour Nickel Processing Facility Department of Advanced Education and Skills Workforce Development Secretariat

Geographic location: Hebron, Newfoundland, Atlantic Accord

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