The pork and poultry business said ham deboning operations were no longer needed at the Saint-Hyacinthe plant. The company believes it will be more efficient to carry out this work in other abattoirs and butchery sites.
Whilst admitting “regret” over the job losses, Réjean Nadeau, president and CEO of Olymel, said the decision was “necessary” to ensure continued profitability. Some recompense is that Olymel will keep rendering operations for lard production running at the plant, saving 70 jobs.
Ham deboning work will be slowed down before finally ending completely in September 2017.
Plans to move this work to other Olymel-run sites is expected to reduce financial overheads “considerably” in terms of fixed costs and shipping. The company’s meat plants in Saint-Esprit, Yamachiche and Vallée-Jonction are also much closer to a further cluster of processing plants that Olymel supplies with raw materials.
“This solution was deemed necessary after a thorough analysis of processing costs with a view to making all our operations more efficient,” said Nadeau.
“I have requested that everything be done to facilitate the transition for employees assigned to another position, or their relocation to another Olymel facility. I would like to express our gratitude to them for the years they have spent with the company. This is a difficult decision, but a necessary one if we are to achieve the conditions of efficiency and profitability that will enable us to maintain the bulk of other jobs across all our operations, and even create new ones.”
Olymel will set up a relocation committee to help axed employees find work in other Olymel factories within a 70km radius of the Saint-Hyacinthe factory.
The 25-year-old business exports nearly a third of the pork and poultry it produces, primarily to the US, Japan and Australia, but it has deals in place with over 65 countries. Annual sales top CA$3bn ($2.27bn).