A group of concerned citizens in Marystown wants to know if residents of the town are receiving a fair share of jobs from work related to the construction of Grieg NL’s salmon hatchery development.
To date, the company has been tight-lipped about hiring for the project, however.
That has the group irked.
On Tuesday evening, June 18, Marystown council held an impromptu meeting with the disgruntled residents before its regular public meeting.
The group had started protesting at the site, located in Marystown's marine industrial park, the previous morning, Monday, June 17.
Spokesperson Bill Power told council attempts to get a meeting with Grieg had been unsuccessful.
Allan Moulton, who acknowledged he was there to offer support to the group, said rumours of the percentage of workers being hired at the site from outside Marystown was alarming.
What bothered him most though, Moulton said, was that Perry Power, Grieg NL’s human resources manager, was no longer willing to speak to anyone. In the lead up to the project, Power was readily available, Moulton claimed.
Coun. Andy Edwards told the group Grieg had been asked to provide the postal codes only for workers on the project so that council could get an indication of where they are from. The company had yet to do so, however.
Coun. Mike Brennan, meanwhile, said Marystown Sam Synard, who was in St. John’s attending a conference, had been trying to facilitate a meeting between Grieg and the group but had also been unsuccessful to that point.
Deputy Mayor Gary Myles said council had heard the same gossip regarding the number of outside hires but had no indication if it was accurate.
“For the most part, we agree with what you’re trying to achieve. What we don’t know is what the situation is right now,” he told them.
Myles suggested, in the past, for work related to the other major industries in the town – whether it be the fish plant or the shipyard when they were in operation or Peter Kiewit’s fabrication facility presently – generally about 50 per cent of the employees were from Marystown.
For a company that is developing such a big project to be ignoring requests for information and meetings is unusual, Moulton said.
“That’s just not the norm and quite frankly I don’t understand the logic of doing it,” he suggested.
Myles said council was of the perspective that a meeting would be helpful in resolving the issue.
“You’re local guys, you’re skilled, if the jobs are there, you should have a fair crack at them. I don’t think anyone disagrees with that,” Myles said.
During the regular meeting that followed, council passed a motion to request Grieg NL meet with the group, along with a delegation from council if necessary.
The Southern Gazette was unable to reach Synard on Wednesday, June 19, to see if his attempts to arrange a meeting had been successful.
A phone message to Power seeking comment was also not returned by deadline on Wednesday.