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Trades NL, an organization representing 16 building and construction trades unions, is calling on the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador to release the details of a lease agreement signed with DF Barnes for work on the Bull Arm site.
A news release issued Wednesday by Trades NL accused DF Barnes of using a "wall-to wall" agreement with the Atlantic Canada Regional Council of Carpenters, Millwrights and Allied Workers (ACRC), Local 585.
Trades NL vice-president Bob Fiander stated it is “nothing short of an attempt to break the building trades unions.”
He says non-disclosure of the agreement is an attempt to undermine the collective agreements unions have fought for over the years, and wages and benefits will be significantly reduced without the consultation of Trades NL.
Trades NL executive Rick Gill said its members are becoming desperate with what they say is a trend of outsourcing the construction of resource projects to other countries.
In a statement to The Telegram, DF Barnes said the work at Bull Arm is marine maintenance work, not construction. It said the work would not have come to the province if it weren’t for the collective agreement reached with ACRC, Local 585.
“It’s important to recognize that international competitiveness is the key to success in bringing this calibre of work to Newfoundland and Labrador,” DF Barnes stated. “If we are not competitive, the work will be done elsewhere.”
With regard to Trades NL’s comment that there was no engagement with their membership, DF Barnes said, “Even though the drill rig work is maintenance, we invited the building trade unions to work on the project under our collective agreement. They turned down our offer.”
On Wednesday afternoon, approximately 30 tradespeople entered Confederation Building to stage a silent protest in the House of Assembly.
Natural Resources Minister Siobhan Coady issued a statement: "The current lease agreement with DF Barnes is temporary for a period of six months. The drill rig maintenance project at Bull Arm is employing union members from the province and there will be up to 30 people employed on this job."
A meeting between Trades NL, Coady and Nalcor is scheduled for Thursday.