One year after BC Premier Christie Clark’s announcement that Chinese investments in coal mining would bring more than six-thousand jobs to the province, it seems that many of those jobs will be going to temporary workers from China.
The first group of 200 workers will arrive at the Murray River Coal mine in Tumbler Ridge, BC, in a matter of weeks. Three other mines in North Eastern BC are hoping to employ a large number of workers from China through the Federal Temporary Foreign Worker Program.
Dehua International Mines Group Inc. is one of the major investors in these projects. They say the workers are needed because Canadians lack experience with longwall mining, and are not interested in this kind of dangerous work.
The director for the Western Canadian division of the United Steel Worker’s Union says these statements are “bullshit” and that the Chinese workers are being brought in to keep the cost of labour down. The Union is also siting the track record of the coal mining industry in China as a reason to stop the flow of migrant workers. According to the US Mine Rescue Association, 411 people died in Chinese coal mines in 2012.
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