GRIEG SEAFOOD FLIPS CONTRACT ON UNION WORKERS IN ST. LAWRENCE
April 21, 2023 – FFAW-Unifor is once again calling for harsher regulation of processing companies, this time with Grieg Seafood in Marystown after the company announced they are reneging on promised work for the Burin Peninsula to a non-union plant on the Avalon. Despite millions in provincial funding and promised work to unionized members in OCI’s plant in St. Lawrence, the FFAW learned this week that the labour is being moved to Quinlan’s Seafood, a non-unionized plant on the Bay de Verde peninsula.
Representatives from Grieg NL officially launched the company’s $250 million aquaculture project in Placentia Bay in 2018 with support from both the provincial and federal governments. The project was expected to generate more than 800 new jobs once full production is reached based on the company’s prediction of approximately 440 direct jobs at Grieg NL and processing facilities, and approximately 380 other jobs in affiliated sectors. At the time of the launch in 2018, Grieg was joined in the endeavor by provincially-based partner OCI. A financial and economic impact analysis by the Department of Finance estimated that once fully operational in 2025, the project will generate $33 million in labour income and $82.5 million in Gross Domestic Product annually.
“We are trying to build a meaningful industry on the Burin Peninsula, and Grieg chose to roll back the clock on labour relations,” says FFAW-President, Greg Pretty. “The retendering of the processing contract as a money-saving move by the company significantly reduces the local benefits on the Burin Peninsula. It’s another example of a non-union shop securing cheap labour and bottom-of-the-barrel prices to bulk their bottom line through contract flipping. Our members the OCI plant in St. Lawrence were given a commitment of quality employment and opportunity, and it’s another show of blatant disregard for our workers, the region, and our industry.”
The intent of contract flipping is to depress wages for workers to maximize profits for a company that is already seeing billions of dollars in record revenues. Such an economic loss to the Burin Peninsula after years of promises and investment makes it abundantly clear that Grieg’s only concern is shareholder returns – not being fair to the hardworking people who are the reason profit is possible.
Pretty continues, “While we would hope that corporations like Grieg would ‘grow and be an integral part of the local economy and community’ on the Burin Peninsula as they state on their website, it is clear that’s not the reality and more provincial regulation and oversight is needed to safeguard workers in these precarious employment situations.”
“Ultimately, this is symbolic of all that is wrong with the licensing system in Newfoundland and Labrador. Licenses have to be tied to regional employment and the inept policy surrounding it is on the growing list of items our Union will be discussing with the Premier,” Pretty concludes.