Danish Crown expects to close plant on Bornholm

by Bryan Salvage
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RANDERS, Denmark – Danish Crown reports that efforts to keep its hog processing plant on the island of Bornholm open may be unsuccessful, which would come at the cost of about 190 jobs. The company says the closure is likely ”given the unequivocal stand taken by the Danish Food and Allied Workers’ Union NNF” not to cut jobs in order to keep the plant operating. Company managers traveled to Bornholm on May 28 to break this bad news to its employees.

”This evening [May 27], we presented an ultimate proposal to NNF, which the union has blankly rejected,” said Jesper Friis, CEO of DC Pork. ”We hope that they will reconsider the decision over the next few days, and up until 9:00 on Monday morning [June 2] we are willing to listen to what they might have to say. However, the announcement made this evening is quite clear, and in light of that, the slaughterhouse’s days are numbered.”

”The Danish Crown slaughterhouse is one of the largest private workplaces on Bornholm,” he continued. ”Given the special situation on Bornholm, we drew up an ambitious plan, and the owners--as well as our cooperation partners and the local politicians -- have subsequently devoted considerable efforts to finding solutions. However, from the outset we made it perfectly clear that we would have to look at pay costs at the slaughterhouse because production on the island cannot be maintained at average hourly rates of DKK 197 [US$35.91]. But the Danish Food and Allied Workers’ Union NNF does not see things the same way.”
Friis stressed Danish Crown has always been committed to finding a viable solution.

”We would have to cut operating costs at the slaughterhouse on Bornholm by DKK 20-25 [US $4-5] million. If the Danish Food and Allied Workers’ Union NNF had accepted our proposal, we could have realised savings of just under DKK 20 [US$4] million a year. And even if that was not quite enough, it would have been encouraging enough for us to continue operations.”

Unless there is a breakthrough in negotiations, Danish Crown plans to close the plant on Bornholm this fall. A job bank will help employees find work elsewhere, and a social plan will also be prepared for each person, the company concluded.

Danish Crown is the parent company of Plumrose USA, which operates two sliced meat plants in the US.

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