After rejecting their contract proposals three times, workers at an Olymel pork processing plant south of Quebec City decided to accept the Canadian company’s fourth offer.
This week, 62% of the employees accepted a contract with wage and benefit concessions they had previously rejected – altogether 561 of the 856 accepted the bid.
The workers have now accepted a 30% wage and benefits cut, but they made gains with their seniority and vacations.
The workers had been told by the management they needed to accept the new contract or face the money-losing plant’s closure on May 25th, 2007.
The employees rejected the contract three times, prior to accepting the recommendation of a conciliator and voting in favour of it.
It’s not yet clear whether Olymel intends to keep open the plant now that workers have voted to accept the concessions.
The plant is the largest of its kind in Quebec and has an annual payroll of almost US $43 million.
The pork industry in the francophone province of Canada has been hurt by the strong Canadian dollar and increased competition from abroad. Former Quebec premier Lucien Bouchard has been hired by the company to help restructure the province’s pork industry.
Olymel accounts for 60% of Quebec pork production and employs 11,000 people at plants in Quebec, Ontario and Alberta, shipping about half its production to the United States, Japan and Australia.
Related news items:
â€¢ Olymel makes final offer to keep plant open (29 Jan 2007)
â€¢ Olymel asks for wage concessions (17 Jan 2007)
â€¢ Olymel to close two Quebec pork plants (5 Dec 2006)
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