Danish Crown is to axe 20 full-time staff at its Ringsted abattoir as it cuts the number of pigs slaughtered on the Danish island of Zealand from 46,000 to 34,000 per week.
The reduction in pigs means supply will be too low to justify evening shifts and jobs will ultimately be lost this month, the company said.
Per Laursen, vice-president of production at Danish Crown Pork, described the news as a “very unfortunate situation”. However, he said a 3% drop in the supply of pigs compared to last year meant it was “necessary to adapt capacity accordingly”.
The business has also reduced slaughter output from 102,000 to 98,000 pigs a week at its Horsens abattoir, although no jobs are reported to be affected.
Battling a supply shortage, Danish Crown has regularly been forced to transport over 10,000 pigs across the Danish Great Belt – a strait connecting the islands of Zealand and Funen – resulting in unnecessary overhead costs for the company.
Back in 2015, the meat processor closed down two slaughter lines at its Ringsted factory. A surge in summer demand that year made the business re-evaluate the decision, leading to the creation of an evening shift. While this had been running well since 2015, the recent shortage of pigs meant it was economically unsustainable to continue with evening slaughter work.
Jobs for the 100-plus employees who work evening shifts in deboning, packaging and production lines exclusively for Danish Crown’s Asian market are safe.
The strong demand for pork in Asia, means Danish Crown may be able to offer employment to some of the 20 staff, the company said.