Union and Province Come to Agreement on ‘Free Enterprise’

April 1, 2024

St. Johns, NL – Today, the Provincial Government has released a letter detailing the provincial changes taking place to increase provincial processing capacity and give harvesters more opportunities to sell their catch. The agreement, which stemmed from protests held last month in St. John’s and around the province, responds to harvesters’ demands for free enterprise.

“We are pleased with the amount of collaboration and consultation that has taken place to produce the letter from Minister Loveless today. The Minister took the concerns of harvesters seriously and has made tangible changes that will have positive impacts for fish harvesters all over the province,” says FFAW-Unifor President Greg Pretty. “Importantly, I want our plant worker members to know you are not forgotten about, and these changes are expected to have minimal-to-no impact on existing jobs,” Pretty says.

Fish harvesters have faced increasing problems in recent years finding a buyer for their catch. For snow crab, quotas are at a nearly all time high, while plant employment is nearly half of what it was when quotas were at similar levels.  Harvesters have been unable to land their full potential for species like capelin, squid, shrimp, cod and more because of capacity issues or plants refusal to buy. As a result, fish harvesters spent several days last month demonstrating outside the Confederation Building in St. John’s and at other locations province wide calling for ‘free enterprise’. Fish harvester from Port de Grave, John Efford, played a central role in uniting harvesters and rallying attendance at demonstrations.

“The changes confirmed today will have a real impact on the fishing industry in our province. By increasing competition and market opportunities for fish harvesters, we are creating a better environment for long-term success,” says FFAW-Unifor Secretary-Treasurer Jason Spingle.

“Given that plants cannot fill the existing processing jobs without the assistance of temporary foreign labour, we’re doubtful there will be any impacts on existing processing jobs in our province,” says Pretty to plant workers in the province. “The changes made by Minister Loveless are just a start at levelling the playing field between fish harvesters and companies,” he concludes.

Click here to read the full letter from Minister Loveless.

Courtney Glode (she/her)
Director of Public Affairs

T: 709-576-7276

M: 709-743-4445
368 Hamilton Ave.

St. John’s NL A1E 1K2

[email protected]



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