More than 200 workers at a large fish processing plant have been given layoff notices, as Ocean Choice International girds itself for a strike among its harvesting employees.
More than 90 trawlermen represented by the Fish, Food and Allied Workers union are expected to set up picket lines Monday at the OCI plant in Marystown.
The workers had voted to strike in January, despite a recommendation from the union's bargaining committee to accept the last OCI offer. The dispute has focused largely on wage increases, with OCI offering increases of about two per cent per year.
The FFAW also represents workers at the OCI plant, which is about to run out of product to process.
Union representative Allan Moulton said the plant workers will have to turn to employment insurance.
"Most workers at the plant, I guess, depend on their cheque week to week," he told CBC Radio's Fisheries Broadcast.
"Of course, you know, EI is only about 55 per cent of what your normal earnings are, so that's obviously a huge reduction for workers here at the plant than what they would have if they [were] working a regular work week."
The plant workers accepted a two-year wage offer last spring.