Why does Halifax Shipyard Use Subcontractors?

in Updates

Halifax Shipyard currently employs more than 890 Local 1 shipbuilders. However from time to time subcontractors are used to supply interim labour to meet demand and schedule requirements. Here is a look at why we use subcontractors.

Since being selected to build Canada’s future naval fleet as part of the National Shipbuilding Strategy (NSS) we have been hiring Canadian shipbuilders in great numbers.

 More than 300 Local 1 employees have been hired at Halifax Shipyard since January 2016, and we continue to recruit and hire. We are committed to keeping jobs in Nova Scotia, providing Nova Scotians with careers at home, and giving Canadians an opportunity to make Nova Scotia their new home.

 At times we have a short-term need, or our demand for skilled trades can be greater than the availability of individuals with the required skills and shipbuilding experience. The use of subcontractors helps to temporarily close the gap by providing interim labour to our operations. This is a normal practice in a manufacturing environment, like shipbuilding.

 Our Local 1 workforce is world-class. This is evident in the progress being made constructing a new class of ship in a new, modern shipbuilding facility, and modernizing the Halifax-class frigates on time and under budget.

 Our goal is to continue building a workforce of permanent, full-time members of Local 1, who have a strong history of shipbuilding. While this may sound easy it is quite the opposite. After a long history of not building ships in Canada, there is a shortage of people with shipbuilding experience in key trade areas.

 We routinely discuss this with the Local 1 leadership.

 In fact, we have even asked UNIFOR to let us know whether they have qualified people to refer to us, and to spread the word to tradespeople in any companies/shops closing down or facing layoffs where there might be qualified tradespeople.  

 On the opposite side of our hiring challenges, when we have a need to scale back our labour requirements, it is our subcontractors who we call upon to reduce their workforce first, where possible. This means our Local 1 employees stay more securely employed and are better protected from such fluctuations wherever possible.  

 With the NSS, and our Arctic and Offshore Patrol Ship (AOPS) and Canadian Surface Combatant (CSC) contracts, we have the opportunity to avoid the boom and bust cycle that characterized our workforce for decades.

 Our team of more than 890 Local 1 shipbuilders will grow to almost 1,000 by early 2018, and beyond that as we begin CSC construction. However, we will likely continue to need some subcontractors to offset labour needs and ensure we meet schedule requirements.