More than 300 fish plant workers have been blindsided by the closure of the three P. Janes and Sons seafood processing plants in Newfoundland on Monday, but another fish plant owner says he hopes to hire most of the displaced workers.
Bill Barry, president of the Barry Group, said his company was buying most of the equipment from the facilities in Hant's Harbour, Jackson's Arm and Salvage.
Barry said there could be opportunities for the displaced workers at his fish processing operations.
"In lots of cases these people are spread over a big area and we've got plants that are pretty well close to all of the Janes' plants," said Barry.
"So we hope to attract a lot of them, a good many of them, hopefully all of them, into our own operations."
Workers wonder what's next
Maxine Stroud, who worked at the fish plant in Salvage for 34 years, said Monday's closure, while surprising, did not come as a complete shock.
'We were always hoping that it wasn't going to happen to us.'—Maxine Stroud, fish plant worker
"It was in the back of everybody's mind for a long time, it's just we were always hoping that it wasn't going to happen to us," said Stroud.
Theresa Pittman, who worked at the Jackson's Arm plant for 39 years, said she was doing her best to take the news in stride.
"I got no doubt in my mind that, you know, there was one door closed for me today, and I'm sure out there there's another one to open," Pittman said.
Union official asking for Barry meeting
Will Reid, a staff representative with the Fish, Food and Allied Workers Union, said the Barry Group has mentioned it has been having difficulty finding workers for its operations.
"Barry's are talking about trying to accomodate people," said Reid. "And that's the next step now for me is to meet with Barry's representatives and discuss the ideas they've got for accommodation."
Barry said the closures have been a result of decades of poor fisheries policies, and that in today's economy, the reality is that some plants must close so others can survive.