June 24, 2004
(Fisheries and Aquaculture)


Minister discusses early retirement with fish plant workers

In a meeting this week with Trevor Taylor, Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture, a group of fish plant workers raised concerns about declining fishery resources. The workers expressed their desire for the federal political parties to identify their position on an early retirement program for older workers.

"The aging plant workers in Newfoundland and Labrador are concerned that fish stocks are declining and that less snow crab will be available for processing," said Minister Taylor. "Since the cod moratorium was announced in 1992, many workers in the fish processing sector have seen plant operations decline from year-round operations to highly seasonal work. In previous meetings I have held with federal counterparts, I brought it to their attention that for over a decade these older workers have seen their income levels drop, and that they are facing an uncertain economic future."

Work at fish plants tends to be short-term in rural areas where employment opportunities are low and unemployment rates are high. The Fish Processing Policy Review Commission, under the direction of Commissioner Eric Dunne (Dunne Report), found that in real terms plant workers' average employment income in the province had declined to $9,660 in 2001. The outlook for plant workers is unclear given that technological innovations continue to reduce the labour demands of the fishing industry.

Media contact: Alex Marland, Communications, (709) 729-3733

2004 06 24                                      10:05 a.m.

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