nl-port-union-plant-92711

This Ocean Choice fish processing plant on the Bonavista Peninsula was destroyed when Hurricane Igor hit eastern Newfoundland September 21. ((CBC))

Newfoundland and Labrador’s government is prepared to spend $275,000 to help fish processing plant workers in Port Union who lost their jobs when Hurricane Igor struck in September.

The plant, where more than 200 people worked, was destroyed by the storm.

The provincial money will be used to create jobs so the displaced workers can get enough hours of work to qualify for employment insurance.

The Fish, Food and Allied Workers Union that represents them said Thursday the government assistance is not enough.

"With 420 hours you don't qualify for sick benefits, you need at least 600 hours. With 420 hours, your EI is going to be really low," said FFAW representative Jim Dalton. "People are finding it hard to pay for medications, homes, cars, whatever bills they got."

The union official said most of the workers are older and need more than the minimum number of weeks so they can also qualify for health benefits.

The area's member of the house of assembly, Roger Fitzgerald, responded that the provincial government is doing the best it can for the displaced workers.