Negotiations continuing it attempt to avoid strike at Ocean Choice fish plants

Staff ~ The Telegram
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Attempts to avert a strike at six Ocean Choice International seafood processing plants in the province have been intensified, with the company and union holding extensive talks on Thursday and today.
The two sides met for roughly five hours on Thursday, and were expected to meet today for most of the afternoon and into the evening.
A spokesperson for OCI said both sides had agreed to a media blackout.
Ben Baker of the Fish, Food and Allied Workers' union (FFAW) spoke briefly this afternoon, saying only he couldn't comment on the progress of talks.
The fact both sides are talking is a positive sign, considering the frosty exchanges that have taken place in recent weeks.
About 1,500 workers at the plants have been without a collective agreement since Dec. 31. They recently voted 93 per cent in favour of strike action.
The company indicated a willingness to "give a bit" earlier this week, while union officials have repeatedly complained about what it describes as an attempt by the company to further strip workers' rights and benefits.
Heading into the most recent talks, outstanding issues included wages, overtime, holidays and vacation pay.
The company, for example, wants to pay time-and-a-half to employees who work on Sundays. It currently pays double-time.
Unionized employees currently earn an average of $13 per hour. The company has offered to increase the base hourly rate to $13.25 in Year 1 and $13.45 in Year 2.
Ocean Choice purchased the former Fishery Products International plants several years ago.

Organizations: Allied Workers, Fishery Products International

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