Victoria Shipyards receives $351 million award to refit frigates
VICTORIA SHIPYARDS, a Boilermaker employer since 1994, has been awarded a $351 million contract to refit five of Canada’s Halifax-class frigates stationed on the West Coast. The 12-year contract will create 110 new jobs at Victoria Shipyards and provide economic stability for the 450 workers already at the site in Esquimalt, British Columbia.
“What this contract really means is a real future for the shipbuilding industry,” Local 191 BM-ST Bill Morrison (Victoria, British Columbia) said. “The long-term job security that comes from this contract will give workers confidence for their future; allowing them to make plans, take out mortgages, and buy new cars.”
The contract is the largest Victoria Shipyard has received since it was opened nearly 15 years ago by the Washington Marine Group. Morrison was instrumental in gaining certification for all 9 trades at the shipyard when it opened, and negotiated the first contract — and every one since — for Local 191 members at the site.
Intl. Vice President Joe Maloney credits the good working relationship between labour and management at the shipyard — along with the highly-skilled work force — for securing the $351 million award from Canada’s Department of National Defence.
The frigates, originally built in 1992, will be retrofitted with new operation rooms, radar suites and various communications, and control and warfare systems. Plans include installation of modernized weapons and sensor systems, and improvements to extend the life of each ship’s hull. The ships were initially designed for warfare missions in open ocean waters. They currently patrol Canada’s coastlines and carry out overseas missions.