Tuesday, November 24, 2015

UFAWU-Unifor Letter to businesses asks for political support on cannery closure issue

UFAWU-Unifor have released
an Open Letter to
Prince Rupert businesses
The union representing shore workers at the Canadian Fish Company Oceanview plant has released the details from an Open Letter to Prince Rupert businesses, outlining the situation facing their members and asking for political support from local business owners.

The letter from UFAWU-Unifor dated November 18th, provides the unions view of the decision by Canadian Fish to close down the canning lines at the Oceanside plant, suggesting that 700 jobs could be lost from that move, those job loss numbers have been disputed in recent days by Canadian Fish officials.

The main thrust of the document however provides the path that the union hopes to see the two senior levels of government take when it comes to how Canadian Fish operates its business in Northwestern British Columbia, offering up examples from the east coast as one approach they hope to see put in place.

Coastal communities rely on fishing and processing jobs. We protect our habitat to keep our fish stocks healthy. We forego other development. In Atlantic Canada, fishermen and communities retain control of fisheries production by not allowing the processing companies to own fish licenses or quotas. This is called “fleet separation”. Coupled with this is the “owner/operator regulation”, which says that the owner of the license or quota must actually fish it.

We need both those policies in B.C. to ensure that one entity does not control harvesting or processing. We are asking the Federal Government to apply those two Atlantic principles to B.C.

The UFAWU letter further explains how the the Atlantic principles have been put in place in the
province of Newfoundland and how they wish to see the province address the issue.

Canadian Fish announced the
plan to shut down canning line
operations in Prince Rupert on Nov 12
Newfoundland has established minimum processing requirements. Shoreworkers are asking the BC government to apply the internationally recognized principle of “Adjacency”, which requires fish to be processed in the communities adjacent to where it was caught. 

We are asking for your political support to help save the last processing operation in Prince Rupert.

The letter is signed by local members of the UFAWU Locals 31 and 37 as well as by the National President. However, it does not provide further details as to what kind of political support that the local union is hoping to receive from the business community.

You can review the full document from the UFAWU Facebook page.

Fore more background on the current status of events related to the Canfisco announcement of earlier this month see our archive page here.

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