Newfoundland Employment Support Program Falls Short, CAW/FFAW says

October 8, 2009, 3:54 PM EST

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The CAW/FFAW says a temporary employment support plan announced by the Newfoundland government October 5 for hard-hit harvesters and plant workers is of little or no value to those struggling under the weight of a disastrous 2009 fishing season.

"This plan announced today just shows a complete lack of understanding and a blatant disregard for the impact this year has had on people in the province's fishing industry," said CAW/FFAW Secretary-Treasurer David Decker in a news release.

He said under this plan even best case employment support scenarios would amount to little for plant workers and fish harvesters.

"I cannot imagine many harvesters or plant workers in this province who will see any tangible benefit from this plan this year," Decker said. "It's like throwing a glass of water on a five-alarm fire."

Price declines in several fisheries, reduced landings in others and the overall increase in expenses have created widespread hardship this year.

After meeting with provincial officials in early August to discuss the need for emergency help for people struggling because of depressed seafood markets, Decker said it took far too long for the government to announce any plan at all.

"The premier said his government would be there to help people in this industry who have been pushed to the brink of ruin this year - if this plan is the result of that promise then government has failed to realize the depth of the problems being faced in coastal communities this year," Decker said. "People are facing desperate circumstances throughout the province."

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