August 4, 2022
Today, FFAW-Unifor met with Premier Andrew Furey, Ministers Bernard Davis and Derek Bragg, as well as members of the Premier’s senior staff. The Union took the opportunity to raise several important issues of concern to members. Firstly, FFAW-Unifor raised the problem of corporate concentration and control, and the ensuing chaos it has created this season in particular. Both plant workers and fish harvesters in Newfoundland and Labrador are impacted by ASP’s attempts to squeeze harvesters’ shares in the market – the hundreds of hours of lost work and the millions of dollars of resources still sitting in the water. There is an immediate need for increased competition and capacity in the processing sector, as the largest companies continue to buy out smaller ones, further monopolizing their shares in the market.
The FFAW emphasized that the Fish Price Setting Panel review must focus on improving the balance, and not be dismantled in favour of corporate interests. Increased transparency and accountability are required to ensure fair negotiation.
The Union also asked that the provincial government provide more support behind important issues such as redfish, mackerel, seal overpopulation, as well as gulf cod, capelin and shrimp.
On the labour side, the Union raised the impacts Vale’s latest contract flip had on over 150 skilled trades workers and their families in the region surrounding Long Harbour. Contract flipping is a strategy use by Vale and other like-minded companies every few years to unjustly cut back on employees, reduce and stagnate wages and limit employees’ rights in order for the contracting company to save costs and increase profit.
Moreover, the Labour Standards Act and the Labour Relations Act must be strengthened to protect workers and their ability to collectively bargain. From Long Harbour to aquaculture facilities on the South Coast and all over the province, workers are continually on the losing end when companies are held not held accountable for their actions.
FFAW-Unifor will follow-up with the Premier’s office and the respective Ministers offices to ensure noticeable progress is made on these important issues.