Former Marystown Shipyard workers excited for a ‘new beginning’ as aquaculture hub

Members of Unifor Local 20 at the Marystown Shipyard in Newfoundland and Labrador are excited a deal with new owners has finally been approved by the province.

“I’m proud of how Local 20 worked tirelessly and diligently to secure a fair working agreement for the reopening of the long-dormant former shipyard facility,” said Jerry Dias, Unifor National President. “It took years of perseverance and solidarity, but now we see real opportunity for the workers, the people of Marystown and the entire Burin Peninsula.”

The shipyard was a Crown asset for over twenty years and then changed owners many times after it was privatized. The yard has been idle for the past four years.

Local 20 negotiated and ratified a collective agreement with this new company, Marbase, back in January of this year.

“The sale to Marbase hit a few roadblocks since we signed the new agreement, but Premier Ball gave the government’s blessing and funding for additional cleanup, which means we can look forward to getting members back to work,” said Rick Farrell, President of Unifor Local 20.

Marbase will turn the site into a service hub for the province’s growing aquaculture industry that will include a lumpfish hatchery. Lumpfish have been proven to help farmers deal with sea lice infestations in their salmon sea cages, avoiding pesticide use.

The company expects 100 workers will be employed initially, and then grow to about 300 people in two to three years. The announcement comes at a good time, as it coincides with the construction of the largest fish hatchery in the world in Marystown.