Workers end protest at OCI plant in Marystown
After five months of protest, laid-off workers in Marystown have agreed to stop their vigil at the idled fish plant.
The decision to quit the protest line was unanimous.
Ocean Choice International closed the town's fish plant in early December.
"This is a very sad day," former OCI plantworker Phonse Rowlands told CBC News. "I've been here 36 years, my wife has been there 30 ... I'm leaving for Alberta on Tuesday."
Workers will now focus their attention on securing a compensation package.
"We've asked the union to go to St. John's ... and talk to the government and the company to try to get some kind of a severance package," Rowlands said.
Another former worker, Bill Stockley, agreed: "We've worked for 40 years in this plant and we deserve some sort of compensation if it's decided that the plant will never open again and that's it for the fishery."
It's been a contentious number of months between OCI and its former workers in Marystown.
In January, OCI won an injunction against its former employees ordering them to allow company officials access to the facility. Later that month, police were called to deal with a blockade at the shuttered plant.
In March, the company sent CBC News a video showing someone using a chainsaw to cut down a light pole outside the company’s front gate in Marystown. OCI president Martin Sullivan blamed the union.
The battle to have the plant re-opened is now over, former workers concede.
"I feel lost, let down by that company," former worker Lucy Prior said Wednesday. "I always thought I had a job in the Marystown plant. Now I've got nothing."