Union employees at the Olymel hog slaughterhouse and butchering plant in Vallée-Jonction, Quebec, have reached an agreement with their employer, ending a strike at the plant that had hindered the Canadian meat company’s ability to conduct business.

At an assembly, 70 percent of the employees ratified the final agreement reached on April 1 through negotiations. The new labor contract has a term of six years.

The two sides agreed on a return-to-work protocol that will enable plant operations to resume gradually on two shifts, depending on hog volumes available and the product mix. In regards to operational logistics, teams are already hard at work to ensure a supply of hogs at the facility.

"Olymel welcomes the resumption of operations and will do everything in its power to ensure that the Vallée-Jonction plant can resume normal business operations, and to maintain a calm working atmosphere at the facility. We are hopeful that, together with our employees and the union leaders, we have found the conditions that will allow this large facility to return to its place in our organization and continue to serve our markets and customers. I am confident that, thanks to the dedication of our teams already on site, we can recover the greater part of the deliveries we were forced to cancel in recent weeks," Olymel President and CEO Réjean Nadeau stated in a press release.

The Olymel president and CEO also thanked the management staff and the negotiating team for their work in difficult circumstances. All management staff members who were laid off on March 30 will be recalled.

Nadeau also thanked Olymel's customers and suppliers, and hog producers in particular, for their cooperation during the shutdown. .

The Olymel hog slaughterhouse, butchering and boning facility at Vallée-Jonction has more than 1,000 employees working on two shifts. Located in the heart of a swine production area, it has a weekly slaughtering capacity of 35,000 pigs and manufactures boned products, various cuts of pork and fresh chilled pork. Much of its production volume is exported to foreign markets.