Hog slaughter resumed Friday at a major Quebec pork plant that had sat idle for over four months, as striking employees now return to work with a new six-year contract.
The Olymel plant at Vallee-Jonction, south of Quebec City, restarted daytime and evening hog slaughter shifts Friday after “maintenance and sanitation” work on Wednesday and Thursday, the company said.
“The plant is expected to reach a slaughter capacity of 3,600 pigs for this first day of activity and will gradually catch up in the coming weeks to its usual slaughter capacity of 35,000 pigs per week,” Olymel said in a release.
Cutting activities are scheduled to resume Tuesday, after the Labour Day break, the company said.
“The restart of operations at Vallee-Jonction should contribute to a better flow of waiting pigs, the number of which has reached historic proportions, putting strong pressure on producers,” Olymel first vice-president Paul Beauchamp said.
Rene Roy, president of les Eleveurs de porcs de la Beauce, said in an interview Monday that the backlog of market-weight hogs on Quebec farms due to the strike had reached over 170,000 head and counting. Local news reports later in the week put that number at over 180,000.
The backlog doesn’t include hogs that were diverted to slaughter plants outside the province — some as far west as Olymel’s hog plant at Red Deer, Alta.
Olymel, Beauchamp said, will “maintain its collaboration with the Eleveurs de porcs du Quebec for the continuation of certain measures adopted last April to divert pigs to destinations other than its own slaughterhouses while waiting for the situation to return to normal.” — Glacier FarmMedia Network