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‘ It’s all about promises broken ’

Concerned town’s people blocked access to the facilities owned by Canada Fluorspar Inc. on March 2. They are concern over hiring practices by the company.
Concerned town’s people blocked access to the facilities owned by Canada Fluorspar Inc. on March 2. They are concern over hiring practices by the company.

A large group of people from the town of St. Lawrence gathered at the Canada Fluorspar Inc. site Thursday morning to block access to the mine facility.

“We’ve been here since five o’clock this morning,” said Troy Beck, who spoke on behalf of the group.

Beck said company officials have broken a promise they made publically to the people of the town.

“People from St. Lawrence were promised the majority of the jobs (at the mine) here in St. Lawrence and it hasn’t happened,” said Beck.

“It’s all about promises broken, people of outside (of town) are getting jobs, (when) there are qualified tradesmen here on our harbour and they’re overlooked.”

Beck said they do not have an issue with people from outside the town being employed at the mine,  but only after locals have had a chance at the work.

“They got up in that public meeting with the people from the Burin Peninsula, they got up and they promised that the majority of the work, if the qualified workers were here, would come from St. Lawrence, and then go outside,” Beck said. “But you take care of you own first.”

However, a representative for Canada Fluorspar Inc. said the company is living up to its promise.

“We do feel we are living up to many expectations. Over half our staff — 53 per cent — are from St. Lawrence with another 29 per cent being from the rest of the Burin Peninsula,” Justin Haley, community relations co-ordinator for the company, said Thursday.

“So really, more than 4 out of 5 (of our) staff (is) from the Burin Peninsula including more than half from St. Lawrence.”

Haley added the company also understands some people in the community are disappointed about recent hiring for temporary positions.

“However, qualifications are key for us,” he said. “We need to make sure that the qualifications are there …in a mining company health and safety is of paramount importance and that’s in line with qualifications.”

Haley added that the company hired an iron worker and a zoom operator to fill two three-week positions.

“The zoom operator we didn’t have the skills in our database. We did come to learn after the fact that there may have been people in the harbour that were qualified for the ironworking position, but we didn’t have any of their resumes on file.”

He said company policy states that for any position under three months in duration they are not required to advertise, instead they select from the resumes they have on file.

St. Lawrence Mayor Paul Pike, told The Southern Gazette on Thursday people from the community have come to council with the same concerns they are voicing during the protest.

“We feel that this kind of protest was inevitable really because there was some recent hirings and so on out there, and some people felt that the jobs went outside the town when they should of went to people in the town because the mine made a commitment and they made a public commitment that they would hire (from) St. Lawrence first if qualified.”

Pike said council understands if qualified workers are not available in the town there is a need to find those employees elsewhere.

“But some of the jobs lately that have been filled in there, have been filled with people from outside of the community, and people within the community had the same skill set,” he said. “So we’re not pleased with that.”

This is not the first time people from the community have been upset with the company.

“Last year there was a big ruckus about the wharf not going out there, and that’s when these commitments were made that there would be more jobs for people in St. Lawrence and people accepted that but now they’re saying ‘well what happened to those jobs?’” Pike said.

“The Town fully supports this project and we want this project to continue,” he said. “But we also want to work together as a community and as a company working within the town boundaries of the community to ensure that everybody benefits from this.”

Pike said there are people who are currently working outside the province who are looking for the opportunity to return home to St. Lawrence with their families.

“There’s a lot of people from St. Lawrence who would like to come home, and they should also be give a look, at least. If they want to come home and settle in this town, that’s what we’re trying to do,” said Pike. “We’re trying to build a town, there trying to build a company.”   

colin.farrell@tc.tc

@Colin_TCMedia

“We’ve been here since five o’clock this morning,” said Troy Beck, who spoke on behalf of the group.

Beck said company officials have broken a promise they made publically to the people of the town.

“People from St. Lawrence were promised the majority of the jobs (at the mine) here in St. Lawrence and it hasn’t happened,” said Beck.

“It’s all about promises broken, people of outside (of town) are getting jobs, (when) there are qualified tradesmen here on our harbour and they’re overlooked.”

Beck said they do not have an issue with people from outside the town being employed at the mine,  but only after locals have had a chance at the work.

“They got up in that public meeting with the people from the Burin Peninsula, they got up and they promised that the majority of the work, if the qualified workers were here, would come from St. Lawrence, and then go outside,” Beck said. “But you take care of you own first.”

However, a representative for Canada Fluorspar Inc. said the company is living up to its promise.

“We do feel we are living up to many expectations. Over half our staff — 53 per cent — are from St. Lawrence with another 29 per cent being from the rest of the Burin Peninsula,” Justin Haley, community relations co-ordinator for the company, said Thursday.

“So really, more than 4 out of 5 (of our) staff (is) from the Burin Peninsula including more than half from St. Lawrence.”

Haley added the company also understands some people in the community are disappointed about recent hiring for temporary positions.

“However, qualifications are key for us,” he said. “We need to make sure that the qualifications are there …in a mining company health and safety is of paramount importance and that’s in line with qualifications.”

Haley added that the company hired an iron worker and a zoom operator to fill two three-week positions.

“The zoom operator we didn’t have the skills in our database. We did come to learn after the fact that there may have been people in the harbour that were qualified for the ironworking position, but we didn’t have any of their resumes on file.”

He said company policy states that for any position under three months in duration they are not required to advertise, instead they select from the resumes they have on file.

St. Lawrence Mayor Paul Pike, told The Southern Gazette on Thursday people from the community have come to council with the same concerns they are voicing during the protest.

“We feel that this kind of protest was inevitable really because there was some recent hirings and so on out there, and some people felt that the jobs went outside the town when they should of went to people in the town because the mine made a commitment and they made a public commitment that they would hire (from) St. Lawrence first if qualified.”

Pike said council understands if qualified workers are not available in the town there is a need to find those employees elsewhere.

“But some of the jobs lately that have been filled in there, have been filled with people from outside of the community, and people within the community had the same skill set,” he said. “So we’re not pleased with that.”

This is not the first time people from the community have been upset with the company.

“Last year there was a big ruckus about the wharf not going out there, and that’s when these commitments were made that there would be more jobs for people in St. Lawrence and people accepted that but now they’re saying ‘well what happened to those jobs?’” Pike said.

“The Town fully supports this project and we want this project to continue,” he said. “But we also want to work together as a community and as a company working within the town boundaries of the community to ensure that everybody benefits from this.”

Pike said there are people who are currently working outside the province who are looking for the opportunity to return home to St. Lawrence with their families.

“There’s a lot of people from St. Lawrence who would like to come home, and they should also be give a look, at least. If they want to come home and settle in this town, that’s what we’re trying to do,” said Pike. “We’re trying to build a town, there trying to build a company.”   

colin.farrell@tc.tc

@Colin_TCMedia

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