A pork plant south of Quebec City, Canada, will close down after employees voted against concessions to save their jobs.
Olymel, the plant’s owner, will now follow through on warnings that it will close the money-losing facility.
The 862 workers present at an union meeting voted 97% against wage and benefit concessions to keep their jobs at the plant. Altogether the plant employs 1,100 people.
Lucien Bouchard, the province’s former prime minister, who is acting as the company’s negotiator, described the workers’ decision as ‘incomprehensible,’ as the plant had lost US $42 million in three years.
“It is very unfortunate that we were unable to convince the workers of the gravity of the situation,” he said.
Olymel president Rejean Nadeau also said he was baffled by the vote.
The workers had adopted a proposal to continue negotiations to try to avert the shutdown planned for July.
A union official said the concessions would have cost each employee more than US $10,000 on a yearly basis – his idea is to keep discussions about the plant’s future going for a while.
Earlier this month, the unionised workers at the plant voted 99% against an offer containing wage and benefit concessions.
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)