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Danish Crown proposes closure of abattoir, risks 800 jobs

Danish Crown has announced the proposed closure of an abattoir in the northern Jutland region of Denmark, risking 800 jobs. The company said that the proposed closure is due to a 10% decline in the number of pigs being supplied for slaughter in Denmark over the past year. Danish Crown’s board of directors “sees no other option” than to close one of the group’s six abattoirs in Denmark. As a result of the proposed closure, the 800 employees who work at the abattoir in Sæby, northern Jutland, face losing their jobs. The company states that it will need to take on 450 new employees across three of its abattoirs in Horsens, Ringsted and Blans, Denmark, within the next six months. Per Laursen, VP of production at Danish Crown, said: “It is very sad that we have to say goodbye to so many skilled and loyal employees, but we are forced to react to such a marked decrease in the amount of slaughterings. Now, our surplus capacity is costing us more than DKK 300 million a year, and it would be irresponsible in relation to the company and our owners if we didn’t take the steps which are necessary to address this challenge.” According to Danish Crown, the decline in the number of pigs being sent for slaughter is partly due to a rise in inflation which has resulted in some Danish farmers closing their livestock operations. Another contributing factor is that some farmers are selling their pigs for export as soon as they weigh 30kg, due to high demand for ‘weaners’ from Poland and Germany, which generates good earnings for the farmers. The company plans to reverse this development by increasing the settlement price paid to the cooperative owners for their supplies of pigs so that it matches the level paid in Germany and Poland and ensures that farmers can make money from fattening their pigs for slaughter. Per Laursen continued: “What is so frustrating about this situation is that our employees’ performance has been exemplary, but in our industry, it is imperative that the abattoirs are run with very high-capacity utilisation because otherwise it simply becomes too expensive to slaughter every single pig. But it’s a heavy decision for us all.” For those employees based at Sæby that wish to accept jobs at one of the company’s other three abattoirs, Danish Crown is able to cover some travel costs and subsidise employees moving to a new home. The company will also offer courses and training to help those who face losing their jobs find other employment. Jais Valeur, group CEO, Danish Crown, commented: “The decision to propose the closure of the abattoir in Sæby is based on a careful and in-depth analysis of the situation. However, our Feeding the Future strategy is unchanged, because our future growth is not only going to come from slaughtering more pigs, but from increasing the value of our meat and the production of attractive and more sustainable foods.” The news of the site’s closure comes after the company revealed it had acquired a 120,000-square-metre site in Denmark from Skare Meat Packers last month. In January, Danish Crown announced the closure of a deboning facility in Boizenburg, Germany, affecting more than 200 employees.


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