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Unifor calls on federal government to revoke Jim Pattison Group's fishing licences

PRINCE RUPERT, BC, Nov. 19, 2015 /CNW/ - If Jim Pattison Group's Canadian Fishing Company (CFC) cannot generate good jobs with a majority control in the salmon fishery, the federal government should revoke the fishing licences, said the union representing cannery workers in Prince Rupert.

CFC announced last week that it has plans to close the last production canning facility in British Columbia, costing up to 500 jobs and virtually closing the community's largest employer.

"Fish caught in northern BC waters should be processed in a north coast plant," said Joie Warnock, Unifor's Western Director. "Canadians own the resource, pure and simple. Residents of the north coast deserve jobs in return for granting a multinational corporation a licence to fish these waters."

"A corporate licence to fish Canadian waters is not a right, it is a privilege that comes with responsibilities to Canadians," Warnock added. "If Jim Pattison Group is unwilling to create cannery jobs, those salmon licenses can go to independent and First Nations fish harvesters, like most commercial fishing licenses on the east coast."

Unifor says that the impact on the community could be devastating. CFC's canning facility largely employs First Nations residents, and in many households, both adults work at the cannery.

Unifor is Canada's largest union in the private sector, representing more than 310,000 workers. It was formed Labour Day weekend 2013 when the Canadian Auto Workers and the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers unions merged.