Monday, May 3, 2021

Strike hits Quebec pork industry

A strike by more than 1.000 workers at Olymel’s plant in the Beauce region has reduced hog slaughter capacity in Quebec and perhaps stretching into Ontario.

The Quebec hog marketing board is telling its members to reduce marketings to the heaviest hogs.

The Syndicat des travailleurs d’Olymel Vallee-Jonction-CSN called an “indefinite” strike effective Wednesday morning.

In the union’s release, STOVJ president Martin Maurice said relations between the union and company have been tense for a long time, but workers have until now remained on the job throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, “sometimes at risk to their health.”

The last strike at the plant ended in 2015 with a six-year contract. The union presented wage demands for a new contract April 19 and were promised that management would come back with a comprehensive submission covering financial and non-financial matters, Maurice said.

Since then, he said, management has demanded that contract talks go to conciliation even before responding to the union’s submissions and has “now refused to meet with us on the scheduled dates.”

The union also alleges a high rate of employee turnover at the plant since 2015, with over 1,800 people having been hired and over 1,700 leaving.