Olymel workers strike an agreement
by MEAT+POULTRY staff
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VALLÉE-JONCTION, Quebec – After being on strike since March 18, workers at the Olymel pork-processing plant in Valle-Jonction in Beauce have accepted a tentative agreement. Olymel and the Confederation des syndicats nationaux (CSN), the second-largest trade union federation in Quebec, have put together a new six-year contract giving employees a lump sum of $800 and $55 per year, if signed.
The 940 unionized employees will receive a 2 percent salary increase the first two years, and a 1.5 percent increase will follow.
Union president Martin Maurice claims to have negotiated the "maximum" under the circumstances, since the employer threatened to close the evening shift if an agreement was not reached.
The union reached a tentative agreement with Olymel last week, however, it was only accepted by employees Friday afternoon.
More than 1,000 individuals work at Olymel's pig slaughterhouse, butchering and boning facility at Vallée-Jonction on two shifts. The facility has a weekly slaughtering capacity of 35,000 hogs and fabricates boned products, various cuts of pork and chilled fresh pork. Much of plant's production volume is exported to foreign markets.
Olymel spokesperson Richard Vigneault said the company came to a tentative agreement with the union, with the help of a conciliator.
"We think that we made a lot of concessions and this is a good agreement," Vigneault said.