Editor: I have been reading and hearing about the troubles facing the fish processors in P.E.I., N.B. and N.S. They say the problem is a lack of workers and they need to hire temporary foreign workers. Then I read or hear unemployment on P.E.I. has reached an all-time high of more than 12 per cent. Now I’m not claiming to be an expert when it comes to these matters but I don’t think a person needs to be a rocket scientist to see that something is wrong with this situation.
I believe there is a simple solution to both of these problems. People who work in these fish plants work in one of the hardest jobs on P.E.I. They stand on cement floors for sometimes up to 12 hours a day or longer, bent over a table or line where they pick meat out of lobsters. Some of these men and women have been returning to these jobs for more than 20 to 30 years. They deserve more than minimum wage for their loyalty and their hard work. Those who have been there for many years deserve at least $15 an hour. The plants are looking for 400 additional workers. Fair enough. Pay those people a decent, livable wage of at least $12.50 hour. Allow those who wish to work overtime, the young and healthy, a chance to do so while allowing those unable to do so a chance to work a regular work week. I believe by offering better wages and working conditions the plants will have no trouble hiring the people they need to do the job.
So there you go. The fish processors would have their workers without hiring temporary foreign workers and some of the unemployed would now be employed.