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News 799 views last update:Jan 18, 2007

Olymel asks for wage concessions

Olymel, Canada's second-largest pork processor, has asked a Quebec plant's 1,200 employees to take a 30% wage cut due to bad results.

The request comes after the report that the company's Vallee-Jonction, Quebec, plant has lost almost US$43 million over the past three years.

The workers earn about US$17 per hour. Such a wage cut would lower average wages to about $12 an hour.

The unionised employees voted on Sunday to refuse the company's demand for a 30% pay cut and on Monday Olymel renewed its demand and threatened to close the plant if workers don't change their minds by the end of January.

Earlier, the company announced that two smaller plants near Montreal will close this year, and it has withdrawn from a Manitoba project because of a provincial ban on new construction of pig barns.

If the plant is closed, as threatened, Olymel will be left with only three of its present five slaughter plants in operation.

Olymel will discuss its decision about the future after the workers deadline, which is at January 28th.

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