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Olymel Anticipates Return to Work at Quebec Pig Processing Plant

08 April 2015

CANADA - Olymel has welcomed the early resumption of operations at its pork processing plant at Vallée-Jonction in the Beauce, Quebec.

Olymel management is satisfied with the outcome of the vote by employees at its hog slaughterhouse and butchering plant in Vallée-Jonction in the Beauce who are members of the Union of Olymel Vallée-Jonction Workers (CSN).

At an assembly on 3 April, 70 per cent of employees ratified the final agreement reached on 1 April through negotiations conducted under the guidance of the Ministère du Travail conciliator. The new labour contract has a term of six years.

The two sides also agreed on a return-to-work protocol that will enable plant operations to resume gradually on two shifts, depending on hog volumes available and the product mix. Maintenance and sanitation work was due to start on 3 April as supplies were expected to resume on 6 April, followed by slaughtering on 7 April and butchering operations on the following day. As regards operational logistics, teams are already hard at work to ensure a supply of hogs at the facility.

Olymel President and CEO, Réjean Nadeau, (pictured) commented: "Olymel welcomes the resumption of operations and will do everything in its power to ensure that the Vallée-Jonction plant can resume normal business operations, and to maintain a calm working atmosphere at the facility.

"We are hopeful that, together with our employees and the union leaders, we have found the conditions that will allow this large facility to return to its place in our organization and continue to serve our markets and customers. I am confident that, thanks to the dedication of our teams already on site, we can recover the greater part of the deliveries we were forced to cancel in recent weeks."  

The Olymel President and CEO also thanked the management staff and the negotiating team for their work in difficult circumstances. All management staff members who were laid off on 30 March will be recalled.

Mr Nadeau also thanked Olymel's customers and suppliers, and hog producers in particular, for their cooperation during the operations shutdown. Lastly, he expressed his gratitude to all those who helped minimise the adverse effects that could have arisen from the situation since 18 March, and especially to Les Éleveurs de porcs du Québec and its president David Boissonneault, who spared no effort in mobilising all industry partners to reduce congestion in the slaughtering process.

The Olymel hog slaughterhouse, butchering and boning facility at Vallée-Jonction in the Beauce has more than 1,000 employees working on two shifts. Its operations generate major spin-offs for the region's economy and benefit a large number of producers and other suppliers. Located in the heart of a swine production area, it has a weekly slaughtering capacity of 35,000 pigs and manufactures boned products, various cuts of pork and fresh chilled pork. Much of its production volume is exported to foreign markets.

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