Negotiations resume in NL trawler contract dispute

Talks stalled after union accused company of draw backs
|labour-reporter.com|Last Updated: 04/16/2012

Stalled talks between Ocean Choice International (OCI) and the union representing workers of a Newfoundland fishing trawler resumed on April 3, the CBC is reporting.

UPDATE: NL trawler dispute ends, workers ratify deal

Negotiations between the seafood company and the Fish, Food and Allied Workers (FFAW) union were called off earlier in the week after the union said OCI’s latest offer was worse than the one tabled at the beginning of the dispute.

“They know that is an agreement we couldn’t possibly accept,” FFAW president Earle McCurdy said in a press conference. “It’s loaded with poison pills and it’s not what you do when you’re trying to resolve a problem. It’s what you do when you try to make a problem worse.”

It was the union that was being unreasonable in negotiations, Ocean Choice International CEO Martin Sullivan responded in a statement. Sullivan said he wanted to return to the bargaining table as soon as possible.

Neither party is discussing the resumed negotiations as a media blackout is currently in place.

At the centre of the dispute is OCI’s wish to harvest redfish on the boat, known as the Newfoundland Lynx, which has historically harvested shrimp and turbot. The company says it should be able to choose what it catches, but the union is concerned any change will mean reduced wages for its members.

The dispute has had its share of controversy.

In February, union members were arrested after attempting to block replacement workers from boarding the Lynx. In March, union members boarded the boat in an attempt to occupy it. OCI has also accused union members of slashing tires and damaging company property.

About 45 workers have been locked out since Feb. 4.

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