ST. JOHN’S, June 9, 2017 – Today, the federal government announced that an income bridging program would be provided to fish harvesters affected by severe ice conditions delaying the start of the fishing season. Plant workers who have been equally impacted by ice delays have been left out of this income support program.
The FFAW has been calling on the government to take action since April. Nearly two months after the initial call, some FFAW members will be receiving the desperately needed income support. FFAW-Unifor President Keith Sullivan says that’s not good enough.
“Plant workers have been just as impacted by severe ice delays as fish harvesters. Leaving these people out of the income bridging program is unacceptable,” says Sullivan.
Trudy Byrne, plant worker on the Northern Peninsula, says last year the plant began operations in April. Now into June, the situation is grim. “Harvesters can’t get out in boat to fish and they are now getting support from the government. We can’t go to work because the harvesters can’t get out in boat – we’re in the same situation here. It’s unbelievable to me that they’re being provided support while we’re being left to starve,” says Byrne.
“Families are in dire straits. I’m receiving calls from lots of individuals begging for work or information on what can be done,” added Byrne.
“The federal government has the responsibility to assist these individuals who are unable to work due to severe and persisting ice conditions. Families have been without income for up to two months by no fault of their own,” says Sullivan. “These people want to be working but we are experiencing some of the worst ice conditions we’ve seen in recent memory.
FFAW will continue to call on federal government, including the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development, to take immediate action to provide income support to plant workers that have been impacted by these environmental conditions. A committee representing plant workers from around the province has been convened and will request an urgent meeting with the Premier to call on the province for support.
For media inquiries, please contact:
Courtney Glode, FFAW Communications