Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Happy Temporary Foreign Workers Labour Day!

Bloomberg, Dec 2010 : Europe’s largest oil-field service provider, Saipem, wins $1 Billion onshore contract from Husky for the Sunrise Energy Project in Canada.

Nine months ago, Fort McMurray Today reported that 270 unionized welders and pipefitters contracted to that Husky Sunrise tarsands project were laid off and replaced by cheaper temporary foreign workers from Mexico, Ireland, Portugal and Italy.

commenter under another FMT article explained:
"We had to conduct a handover to Saipem (a mostly Italian workforce), detailing to them where we had stopped work so that they may continue. In the final week, Saipem foreign workers were actually in the facility working side by side with us; a very uncomfortable situation for those of us about to be laid off."
Yesterday, CBC's Kathy Tomlinson revisited that story : Canadians expose foreign worker 'mess' in oilsands"
"Canadian tradesmen from a huge oilsands construction project are waving a red flag about safety hazards and near misses, which they blame on the use of foreign workers who aren't qualified and can't speak English.
Stand-outs from her report :
  • a foreign worker taking a blowtorch to a propane tank to defrost it
  • Canadians with better qualifications passed over for jobs while foreign workers from Europe continued to show up 
  • foreigner workers arrived without Canadian-standard trade certification but "under government rules, they have a year before they must take their test." after which they can take it again later if they fail,  and 
  • "Probably 75 per cent of [foreign] ironworkers on site were only at the level of a labourer."
  • When refused LMAOs, Saipem used "intra-company transfers" instead [which I wrote about here.] 

But back up a bit. The company that brought in those workers - Italian oil and gas services contractor, Saipem.  Haven't we heard about them before?

Dec. 2012 : Saipem CEO resigns after Algeria corruption probe

July 2013 :Milan court rules Saipem guilty of corruption in Nigeria ... 

"The Italian oilfield services provider said that one of the jack-up rig’s three legs collapsed, causing the rig to suddenly tilt and start taking water. The incident, according to Saipem, occurred during the rig positioning on location between the coasts of Angola and the Democratic Republic of Congo, in approximately 40 meters of water. 6 crew members have sustained minor injuries. At approximately 10:30 am CET, the rig, with no personnel on board, capsized and sank. "
Sept. 2013 : Milan prosecutors investigate Saipem for alleged market manipulation and insider trading

May 2014 : RBC Investor and Treasury Services - SAIPEM  - Class Action Notice 
"As a result of the company's untimely disclosures of relevant information, particularly its involvement in an Algerian corruption scandal from 2007 to 2010, and it is alleged that Saipem paid bribes to win a series of contracts worth around $11 billion which led to significant stock drops in January and June 2013. Various (criminal) investigations against Saipem by the Consob, the Italian market regulator, and Italian prosecutors are ongoing."
July 2014 : Australian unions fury at Coalition`s gas job sell-out
"Saipem's enormous pipelay vessel Castorone will start work soon off the Australia coast.  The Government issued a regulation eliminating the need for any worker on a craft not tethered to the Australian mainland to have a work visa. That would free foreign companies with the contracts to lay pipework and other vital infrastructure on huge projects such as the Browse Basin gas field to hire thousands of foreign workers instead of Australians."
Gosh, just like here.
But no, not any of those stories ... 
Ah I remember - it was Arthur Porter, SNC-Lavalin, and Saipem!

In 2005, Saipem won a contract with SNC-Lavalin for the Horizon oilsands project, owned by Canadian Natural Resources Ltd.
In 2006, SNC-Lavalin and Saipem awarded "joint partnership contract" to build LNG Terminal in New Brunswick.

Four years laterSNC-Lavalin had signed a deal to award soon-to-be CSIS watchdog Dr. Arthur Porter of Sierra Leone (currently on the lam from Canadian law in Panama) and his company Sierra Assets Management3 payments totaling $10-million for consultancy fees regarding a gas project in Algeria.  The $1.2 billion Rhourde Nouss gas project deal was awarded to SNC-L the same year by Sonatrach, Algeria’s national oil company.

In 2013,  Algerian police raided SNC offices in Algiers regarding "allegations of bribery and kickbacks involving Sonatrach and public officials and agents hired by SNC-Lavalin to procure a number of large infrastructure projects."

G&M February 2013 : SNC-Lavalin bribery probe widens to Algeria :
The investigation focuses on one of the company’s agents in Algeria, Farid Bedjaoui, a jet-setting money manager hired to help secure at least $1-billion in contracts with the country’s state-run oil company, Sonatrach. Mr. Bedjaoui was educated in Montreal and occasionally resides there
Sources close to the investigations in Europe and Canada believe that SNC and the Italian oil services firm Saipem SpA relied on Mr. Bedjaoui, the nephew of former Algerian foreign affairs minister Mohammed Bedjaoui, to obtain contracts from Sonatrach.
Mr. Bedjaoui is one of several foreign agents hired by SNC who have fallen under suspicion for allegedly paying bribes.
Several Saipem executives are under investigation, including the construction unit’s recently suspended chief operating officer, Pietro Varone, who was so close with Mr. Bedjaoui that the two men launched a wine-making company together outside Naples.

Well, I'm sure when we sign off on those investor-state rights trade deals with Europe, CETA and TTIP, all this will go much more smoothly, right?


Boris said...

I saw this earlier. We knew the great bitumen gloryhole would eventually come under new management. This is how capitalism operates normally, but especially so under fascists. The six-figure wonder jobs couldn't last forever.

It will be interesting to see how this shakes out in Alberta politics.

Alison said...

Boris : From back here :

"A Kijiji ad, posted by a recruiter on June 27, 2014, suggests approvals were granted to employers to fill jobs as Welders and Related Machine Operators (NOC 7265) in Alberta and Saskatchewan at wages of $13 to $20 per hour."

Anonymous said...

First they came for the manufacturing jobs but I didn't live in Ontario so I didn't give a shit.
Then they came for the unions but I wasn't in one so I didn't give a shit.
Now I worry workers in Alberta won't wake up in time to save what's left.

Anonymous said...

Holly Stick here:

Some background info on groups which push for the TFWP Temporary Foreign Workers Program:

The CFRA is fairly new, but seems to be doing good work making connections, looking at how transparent various groups are about funding, etc:

Kim said...

The biggest shareholder of CNRL is also the biggest shareholder at Imperial Metals, of Mt Polley fame. He personally raised 1 million for Clark in Calgary prior to the last BC Election. It is rumoured that they (Imperial Metals) has partnered with SNC Lavalin for some funding of the "Cleanup" there. What a small, corrupt banana republic we live in!

Beijing York said...

I caught some of this on the CBC early morning news, no real follow-up since. Thanks for filling in the blanks and then some.

Anonymous said...

My son is an, Electronic Engineering Technologist, Bachelor of Science degree, Major-Electronic Engineer.

He had decided to apply for jobs, in the resource sector. I advised him not to, however, he wanted to give it a try. There are firms bringing over foreign Engineers and for many other sorts of Canadian jobs.

The Engineers from India, have astonishing perks. Ashakiran Immigration Services.

Electrical and Electronic Engineers. Canada is calling under the *FEDERAL* scheme.


Canadian Dehua International. Former Chinese Government official

Sure enough? In the sixth or seventh shift in, my son and others were laid off. No explanation, no information regarding a call back. Nada. The other Engineers put up a battle to keep him. Never-the-less he was laid off anyway.

My son and some of the others, were applying for jobs all over hell's half acre. My son is educated for the petroleum industry but, he qualifies for mine positions as well, also mill operations.

My son doing a courtesy call to a HR person? She said, she had over 4,000 applications, for just that one job position. I e-mailed Jason Kenny and asked him? How does he compute that, to a shortage of labor in Canada? No answer.

I began tracking the resource job postings. Many times when the posting times out? The jobs are being posted and re-posted over and over again, some for an entire year. I guess when they can't fill those jobs, they bring in the foreigners.

We all know of, Christy Clark's families first. Well. The LNG plant being built near Prince Rupert? The Chinese are being given those jobs. BC's ship building contract was given to Poland. There are to be thousands of Chinese brought over for, Harper and Clark's Northern BC mining plan...that is, when the price of coal goes up.

I am very suspicious of, our 400 year old Douglas Firs being hacked down near Port Alberni especially since, Harper made a visit to Vancouver Island?

I e-mailed Christy and asked about those jobs, for her families first? She didn't reply either.

Now the catastrophic dam burst at Mount Polley is from, pure and utter greed. Seems the mine barons are just as greedy as, Harper's oil and gas barons.

Nor can anyone tell me, how do all of those evil politicians, get to stay in office?

Alison said...

Holly Stick : What a great resource!
Thank you.

Canadians For Responsible Advocacy
CFRA report on TFW booster orgs

Also, NTFW, who haven't posted for two months, have today posted A Short Account of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program with some 30+ newslinks.

Kim : Could not find a SNC-L link to Mt. Polley but yeah
Canadian billionaire digs deep to bail out Imperial Metals.

Christy link to Edwards:
Christy Clark's Big Fat Tarsands Fundraisers

BY : Good on CBC for their story but I don't know why they don't do more context/background in sidebars. I left them some links.

Anon : Sorry to hear about your son's job debacle. Possible that the same thing that happened to these workers happened to him :
Sask. contractor laid off Canadians, retained TFWs

In comments under similar news articles, people report being accepted for jobs but after relocating to job site, discover there is no job.

"how do all of those evil politicians get to stay in office?"

Because in a corporate-dominated economic system with little corresponding worker control, once in office politicians no longer represent the constituency who elected them.
Really. That's it.

Anonymous said...

Murray Edwards is the majority shareholder in both CNRL and Imperial Mines.

CNRL also has an environmental problem at it's Cold Lake bitumen extraction project.
Some might say he is up to his neck and in environmental cesspools and sinking.

Murray Edwards is a billionaire lawyer who is an expert in making money and little else. (Hey Murray - how about those Calgary Flameouts?)

Many who have any dealings with him do not have kind things to say. They say that CNRL is an acronym for "C*nts Nobody Really Likes". No doubt he is a big fan of the TFW program and will support any political party that makes him more money.

OK - I'm done smashing my icons for today.


Alison said...

Diogenes : Financial Post, Dec 2011

"... a unit of Saipem SpA, known as Snamprogetti Canada, [is] helping to bring cost discipline to Canada’s big-spending oil sands. Snamprogetti Canada’s portfolio includes big projects for Husky Energy Inc. and Canadian Natural Resources Ltd"

Anonymous said...

Byng Giraud, former VP of corporate affairs at Imperial Metals, is now VP of proposed Woodfibre LNG in Howe Sound

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