Canada's New Brunswick poultry production company Groupe Westco and Quebec meat packer Olymel have faulted their rival Maple Lodge, the owner of Nadeau Poultry Farm, for refusing to accept mediation that could have avoided the 175 layoffs the firm has announced, the Country Guide West reported.

The partners accused Maple Lodge of repeatedly rejecting proposals, which included an offer to buy the Nadeau slaughterhouse, a possible partnership agreement involving joint operation, a draft agreement on slaughtering at "fair market value" while the new joint-venture Clair facility is built, and payment of a premium for the birds.


"If we can reach a solution that is acceptable to all parties through the mediation process, we will stop shipping birds to Quebec and resume supplying the St-Francois slaughterhouse," Westco CEO Thomas Soucy said.

The firm should accept the offer of mediation from New Brunswick Agriculture Minister Ron Ouellette without delay, Soucy added.