Friday, March 05, 2010

People who used to work at the AbitibiBowater plant in Grand Falls-Windsor in Newfoundland have reacted to government actions in not hiring former workers since they took control of the plant on its closing. No doubt the complaints of the workers involved are justified, but it shows perhaps "desperation" in that all they demand is that they be hired as security guards for the shuttered plant. It's possible that there is no other alternative, especially in an out-of-the-way place in Newfoundland. Still, in other places it might be considered that such exemplary actions as workplace occupations could have goals that were more expansive. Here's the story from the CBC. Good luck to the people involved. perhaps this is a cautionary tale as to why nobody should depend too much on government, as the Newfoundland government made the necessary "progressive noise" in taking over the plant while caring not a whit for the workers involved.
Former Abitibi workers occupy mill
Frustrated former workers took over a central Newfoundland newsprint mill in Thursday, in a bid to win jobs as security guards.

AbitibiBowater shut down its mill in Grand Falls-Windsor last year, ending a century of newsprint production in the community and putting hundreds out of work.

On Thursday, about a dozen men snuck through a giant wire fence and into the mill.

"These people behind me are workers who worked here all their lives and they don't see it as trespass," said Gary Healey, a Communications, Energy and Paperworkers union official, who spoke to CBC News through the wire fence on their behalf.

"They see it as successorship and jurisdiction, and [that they] have a right to work."

The former workers' complaint is with the Newfoundland and Labrador government, which took control of AbitibiBowater's assets when the mill closed.

The men are demanding that the government hire them for any work that involves the mill, including a handful of security positions. None of the people hired at the facility now is a former mill worker.

"This is about people who lost just about everything they ever had, and they're frustrated, and they just want to be able to go to work, if there is any work," Healey said.

The CEP said the protesters will not budge until the provincial government commits to helping them out.

RCMP spent the morning on the site, but left after the security staff at the mill assured police that the protest was peaceful.

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