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Olymel to permanently close hog slaughtering and cutting plant
FoodBev Media

FoodBev Media

17 April 2023

Olymel to permanently close hog slaughtering and cutting plant

Olymel has announced the definitive closure of its hog slaughtering, cutting and deboning plant in Vallée-Jonction, in the Beauce region of Quebec, Canada. The decision will see 994 employees lose their jobs, including 911 union members and 83 managers. Olymel stated that “the number of weeks of notice given to complete the layoff of employees will exceed the requirements of the Quebec Act respecting labour standards”. The Vallée-Jonction plant also has 122 temporary foreign workers; Olymel said that it has taken steps with authorities to allow these workers to apply for relocation to another Olymel establishment. According to Olymel, the plant is closing to stop losses in the fresh pork sector, which have amounted to $400 million over the past two years. In February, Olymel announced the closure of two pork processing facilities in Blainville and Laval, Quebec, with the loss of 170 jobs. Olymel said that the Covid-19 pandemic, labour shortage, instability of export markets and increase in raw material costs, among other factors, have had a “major impact” on Olymel and resulted in losses. Olymel's management is confident that through its repositioning in the fresh pork sector, the company will be in a better position to reach the slaughter capacity that has been adjusted from 140,000 to 81,000 hogs per week. Yanick Gervais, president and CEO of Olymel, said: "Olymel management's decision to close the Vallée-Jonction plant…was the result of a careful analysis that focused first and foremost on the operational capabilities of each of the four slaughtering, cutting and deboning plants owned by Olymel in Quebec”. He continued: “Closing a plant was necessary to reduce our slaughter capacity and review our business model in order to optimise it, and our analysis ultimately revealed the limitations of the Vallée-Jonction plant, given the steady decline in the available workforce and the condition of the facilities, which would require investing tens of millions of dollars in renovations.” The company stated that it will offer employees the option to sign up for a voluntary relocation programme, where staff can continue working for Olymel at another location. Plants located in Yamachiche, Saint-Esprit, Ange-Gardien, Princeville, Sherrington and Saint-Henri-de-Lévis will be part of the relocation plan. A reclassification committee will also be set up to support employees who wish to pursue a new career path. The facility’s closure will occur over eight months with the plant ceasing all operations entirely on 22 December this year. Olymel’s management has not yet made a decision regarding the future of the Vallée-Jonction plant.

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