Posted: Thursday, 26 July 2012
The Canadian Labour Congress calls on the government to launch an open and transparent review of the proposed takeover of Nexen by the China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC).
Canadian workers have experienced the negative consequences of a massive, recent wave of take-overs in the natural resources sector in the form of bitter industrial disputes with global corporations, such as Vale Inco, Caterpillar, Rio Tinto and U.S. Steel, who have broken their commitments to invest and create jobs, and instead, have used their muscle to demand major concessions from workers.
Most Canadians have watched in dismay as these take-overs have cemented majority foreign ownership and control of the mining and oil and gas sectors. This has greatly undermined our ability to shape the development of the Canadian economy in the interests of working Canadians.
Large foreign acquisitions should be reviewed in a meaningful and transparent way to determine if they are of significant benefit to Canada, and should be approved by the Government of Canada only if that is the case.
Acquisitions by foreign corporations of Canadian companies may be in the interests of shareholders and corporate executives, but harmful from the perspective of workers and local communities, and negative in terms of sectoral and national economic development.
The key risk in the case of Nexen is that CNOOC has an interest in supplying resources to the Chinese economy at lower than world prices. Lower export prices for Nexen exports of oil, bitumen and liquified natural gas would reduce our trade balance, provincial resource royalties and federal and provincial government tax revenue.
The Canadian Labour Congress calls for an open, public review of the costs and benefits of this proposed take-over. CNOOC commitments should be made public and must include specific undertakings to expand employment and investment, to maintain a Canadian head office, and to foster good labour relations.
Public hearings should be held if requested by affected workers and/or government and community representatives.