Protests as French meatpacker Gad shuts plant
Protests have been dominating a part of the French pig landscape in May and June due to an impending closure of the major slaughterhouse of French independent meatpacker Groupe Gad.
On the 20th of August, the slaughterhouse in the village of Lampaul-Guimiliau, at about 40 km east of Brest, Britanny, will most likely close its doors as Groupe Gad filed for bankruptcy.
The slaughterhouse is employing 850 people. An emergency plan for continuation of Groupe Gad may be set up, but it is unlikely that it will save the Lampaul-Guimiliau plant, as no other market party has shown interest in buying it.
Before announcing strikes and protests, Aveltis, Porélia and SyProPorcs, three pork producing cooperatives in the north of the Finistère department, reacted to the closure with astonishment. In a statement, they say:
“This closure triggers a social crisis without precedent in our regions. The situation of the pig industry is absolutely disastrous. Stagnation is everywhere – all businesses, from top to bottom, farms included, experience great difficulties.”
The three cooperatives state that the the loss of competitiveness of French industry has been evident for several years – and has worn out companies in the whole of the business. It is in this challenging context that Groupe Gad filed for bankruptcy in February.
Wondering how this ‘jewel of the food industry’ collapse in such a short time, they call the closure ‘paradoxical’, as the area is one of the most pig-dense in Europe, with 2 million pigs are available in a radius of 30 km around Lampaul-Guimiliau. In addition, the plant combines all the necessary amenities to export.
They also state that this plant allows the industry to grow pigs and produce pork at short distance from each other, thus guaranteeing good traceability in a time where food scandals are all around.
Groupe Gad slaughtered 2.4 million pigs last year and had a turnover of €453 million. The company is owned by a regional cooperative and a group of pork producers in Brittany. In total, the meatpacker employs 1,650 people, with other plants located in Josselin and St Nazaire.
Closing the plant in Lampaul-Guimiliau might affect another 4,000 jobs, indirectly dependent on the slaughterhouse.
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