Olymel Iberville plant closing results in 120 layoffs

by Bryan Salvage
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ST-HYACINTHE, Quebec – Last week, Olymel lp officials said the company will continue restructuring operations started last year at its Iberville poultry products further-processing and pre-packaging plant. The changes will result trimming 120 jobs – which includes 105 in the production sector, 10 management and support staff and five others assigned to maintenance. The layoff notices go into effect on Aug. 19.

Employing 15 people, the distribution center adjacent to the Iberville plant will continue operating.

The Iberville plant has processed chicken tournedos and skewers since last year. Most of the production volume will be resumed by an Olymel plant located in nearby St-Jean-sur-Richelieu. This will require renovations to the latter facility at an investment of more than $500,000 (U$527,093). The renovation is expected to create 30 new jobs to the current staff of 85 employees at the St-Jean-sur-Richelieu plant. The new jobs will be offered first to employees who were laid off from the Iberville plant.

"Olymel does not take the decision to cut these jobs lightly,” said Réjean Nadeau, president and CEO. “Since the restructuring that began last year, market conditions have not improved and current low production volumes for chicken tournedos and skewers no longer justify continued operation of the Iberville plant. These changes should generate significant economies of scale in our operations. Renovation of our St-Jean-sur-Richelieu facility is expected to create new jobs that will be offered first to laid-off Iberville employees, and the company will provide all necessary assistance through the Job Placement Committee it will set up.”

Olymel lp is a leading slaughterer, processor and distributor of pork and poultry products in Canada. It operates facilities in Québec, Ontario and Alberta. Employing almost 10,000 persons, the company exports nearly 50 percent of its production, mainly to the United States, Japan and Australia, as well as some 60 other countries. Sales stand at $2 billion (US$2.1 billion), with a weekly slaughtering and processing capacity of 160,000 hogs and 1.7 million poultry.
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