N.L. government will help displaced fish plant workers
The Newfoundland and Labrador government says if three fish plants in the province close permanently, it will help displaced workers. But the mayor of a town that lost its plant more than a year ago said government has been no help at all.
On Monday the word came down that three P. Janes and Sons seafood processing plants would be closing, affecting more than 300 workers.
Trinity Bay North Mayor Brendan Peters thinks there's a double standard. Peters said that Grand Falls-Windsor got a task force for long-term job creation when the town lost its paper mill, while fishing communities have gotten nothing.
"Since our plant closed, I don't recall one minister that came down the Bonavista Peninsula to help us in any way," said Peters.
Last May, seven communities in the province formally admitted their fish plants will never re-open.
The province spent $2.4 million in 2012 assisting workers in those communities. A committee was formed, made up of several government ministers, which promised to provide help for workers in retraining and applying for new jobs, as well as a make-work period to help people qualify for EI benefits.
Now nearly a year later, the communities of Salvage, Hant's Harbour and Jackson's Arm will face the same dilemma.
Peters thinks it's unfair that rural areas don't get the same attention from the province in these situations.
"But we didn't get any help like that, nothing at all … like I said it's a job to get a meeting with them — and if we get a meeting it's like — oh 20 minutes and they're gone again. It's like we're a joke."
Fisheries Minister Derrick Dalley said if the fish plants in Salvage, Hant's Harbour and Jackson's Arm are permanently closed, the workers will get help from the province.
"Well, we'll do all we can," said Dalley. "Certainly as minister I will do all I can to work with these communities, for sure."
The Barry Group said it was purchasing most of the equipment from the three P. Janes and Sons plants, and hopes to hire most of the displaced workers.