FFAW members protest Icewater Seafoods in Newfoundland
About 50 workers at the Arnold’s Cove Icewater Seafoods plant demonstrated outside the plant on Thursday morning.
The workers are members of the Fish Food and Allied Workers (FFAW-Unifor).
In a tweet around noon, the company’s alleged owner, Alberto Wareham, “refuses to honor the contract and pay vacation pay”.
In an email, the FFAW told SaltWire that the matter was going to arbitration to uphold the contract.
This is why the demonstration surprised Alberto Wareham.
He was returning to the province from Norway, seeking supplies of cod to feed the factory’s production lines.
In a prepared statement to SaltWire, he said he was surprised by the protest because an independent arbitration process is underway to decide the matter.
Wareham said the company is satisfied that employees have received their 2021 public holiday pay in accordance with the collective agreement, adding: “The FFAW has a different interpretation of the public holiday clause in the agreement.
“I respect their right to protest.
He said he also supports a speedy arbitration process and hopes the matter can be resolved as soon as possible.
This year Icewater took a financial hit when Wareham decided it would not buy cod from Russia to support the people of Ukraine who were subjected to a military invasion by Russia.
The move, Wareham said, means the company is currently processing cod at a financial loss.
“We . . . decided to continue production at a loss for the time being in order to keep our employees working and our customers supplied,” he said in a statement.
He said his trip to Norway was to meet cod suppliers “working to ensure we have cod to process and maintain employment in these difficult times”.
Icewater employs up to 225 people and operates almost year-round.