Department of National Defence employees were in Esquimalt near Canteen Road this afternoon, protesting a deal that the Liberal government struck with French company to do maintenance on Arctic Offshore Patrol Ships and Joint Support Ships.
Protesters stopped at the entrance to the military base on Esquimalt Road where they held a demonstration at around noon until 1:00 p.m when protesters boarded the coach buses they arrived on. Military police were on scene as well handling traffic control.
“So-so-so, soli-dar-ity!” the crowd chanted, waving the same blue flags and wearing the same grey T-shirts for UNDE Victoria. They planted their flags in the soil near the gate before leaving.
“It’s the ‘garden of democracy,’” said one of the demonstrators. “Make sure you call it that.”
The workers were protesting not just the deal with a French company, but also the overloaded Pheonix pay system used for federal employees which, in June, had 345, 000 outstanding payments across the country.
— Scott Hodge (@UNDEScott) August 24, 2017
The Union of National Defence Employees argues that the deal could potentially put national security at risk as well as mean the loss of civilian jobs. Union members are in Victoria for their national convention.