B.C. fishing company ordered to pay deckhand $15K despite confiscated catch

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A B.C. fishing establishment has been ordered to pay one of its deckhands $14,846 even though fisheries stiffs seized most of the catch. 

The B.C. Employment Standards Tribunal recently dismissed the presence’s appeal of the decision, which the director of employment standards made in July 2017, to pay deckhand Steve Hrad for a fishing slip off the B.C. coast last spring.

Hrad had been hired by Lasota Fishing Ltd. — illustrated at the tribunal by Steve Lasota. 

“I’m not very happy about it,” Lasota raked CBC News. 

Some say it sets a troubling precedent in an industry where the rooms are slim and the payout is based on shares of actual profit. 

“You’re not hired for a wage, you’re engaged to share in the catch. So you can’t very well share in a catch that’s been confiscated,” turned Jim McIsaac, coordinator of the B.C. Commercial Fishing Caucus. 

Others applaud the firmness, saying workers should be paid regardless of whether their chief makes money. 

“If you go to work and your employer is doing something foul, you still expect to get paid for it — and that’s no different for fishermen,” said Joy Thorkelson, president of the Joint Fishermen And Allied Workers’ Union.

Catch sold at auction

Concurring to the decision, Hrad verbally agreed to work in exchange for 10 per cent of the lurch’s net landed catch of halibut, sable fish and ling cod — some of the steepest catch on the market. 

But when the vessel landed in Richmond, B.C., the Department of Fisheries and Lots seized most of the catch. It sold at auction for $151,237. 

Lasota and other troupe members are facing multiple charges related to illegal fishing. Hrad was cleared of any responsibilities. 

The auction proceeds are currently being held pending the outcome of the court invalid.

The vessel also caught a small amount of cod on the trip. (CBC)

The deckhand claimed he was be beholden to because ofed more than $15,000 based on the auction, minus the $500 benefit the few expenses he was actually paid. 

The director of employment standards, who made the primordial decision last July, agreed.

Filed appeal

“[The seizure] does not bearing the complainant’s entitlement … to be paid the wages for the work he performed,” the conclusion said. 

Lasota didn’t get to offer his side of the events during the primeval three-week investigation because, he told the tribunal, he was away on a long fishing trigger at the time. 

He filed an appeal and argued that Hrad’s payout was “way too much for one false step” and the deckhand would have been paid $4,000 at most. 

But bar member Shafik Bhalloo dismissed the appeal, determining that Lasota should have in the offing presented his case during the investigation.

Bhalloo said the company should tease monitored its mail and phone messages while Lasota was away, and it was not the shtick of the tribunal if he didn’t. 

‘Precedent setting’

McIsaac, of the of the B.C. Commercial Fishing Caucus, prominent it’s uncommon for a crew to be paid for seized catch.

“That’s precedent surroundings, there’s no doubt about it,” McIsaac said.

Both McIsaac and Thorkelson develop it odd that the tribunal didn’t deduct expenses from the gross value of the nab, since Hrad had agreed to 10 per cent of its net value. 

Crew predominantly agree to expenses like gas, bait and ice, McIsaac said. The largest expense intent be the lease for the fishing quota, which could cost as much as $8 per thump — often leaving crew with as little as $1 per pound to divide up. 

Fishing company owner Lasota told CBC News that he designs to pay the deckhand what the tribunal ordered — but he’ll be more careful in the future. 

“I reasonable want to put it behind me and not let that happen again,” he said.

Hrad dusted to respond to requests for comment. 

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