NDP House Leader Lorraine Michael said the layoffs are a serious blow for workers, their families and the economy, noting the provincial government has a responsibility to try to maintain jobs, particularly in rural areas where full-time, permanent, well-paying jobs are scarce.
“I ask the Premier, has he or any Ministers met with North Atlantic Refining in an attempt to stop the layoffs? If so, what was the outcome of these efforts? What is his plan to go to bat for the people in the communities hurt by these layoffs?” she said.
St. John’s Centre MHA Gerry Rogers, meanwhile, raised concerns over safety implications as a result of the reduced staffing levels, and asked Service NL Minister Perry Trimper if there has been a full safety inspection of the refinery since the layoffs went into effect.
Rogers said the reduced staffing levels make safety inspections more necessary than ever, adding that inspection results should be made fully available to the workers, their union and the general public.
“The remaining employees of the refinery and their union, the United Steelworkers, have serious concerns about how these layoffs affect safety in the facility,” she said.