Grande-Rivière, April 27, 2020 – With the start of the snow crab fishing season, Unifor is pleased to announce the resumption of processing operations at the Crustacés de Gaspé plant, where safety measures have been put in place to protect workers.
“A series of measures have been taken to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. They include the installation of plexiglass barriers between conveyor workstations, the distribution of masks, more frequent cleaning of shared spaces and workstations, and more,” explained Renaud Gagné, the Quebec director of Unifor.
“Strict recommendations have been also been issued by the INSPQ, Quebec’s public health institute, for fishing boats and docks during the unloading of catches in order to minimize the risk of COVID-19 contamination,” Gagné added. “We’re in a period of enormous uncertainty and if we miss the fishing season, which is by definition short, a whole sector of the regional economy is going to suffer. On the other hand, we also have to take public health into consideration.”
He added that, for the moment, “we are remaining vigilant to ensure that our members are protected and that there is no outbreak of the virus.”
Organizing campaign in the fishing industry
It should be recalled that last year, the newly-unionized Crustacés de Gaspé plant was closed for the season just as it was in the process of negotiating its first collective agreement. Following an intensive mobilization campaign by the union in the region, the parties were finally able to reach an agreement for a first labour contract that included a commitment to reopen the plant this year.
Unifor represents more than 7,000 members working in the fisheries sector in Canada, from the East to the West Coast and the Great Lakes in between.