Closure of the Olymel plant in Saint-Hyacinthe: uncertainties persist

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Closing of&rsquo Olymel plant in Saint-Hyacinthe: uncertainties persist

Employees affected by the closure of the Olymel plant in Saint-Hyacinthe fear finding themselves with jobs that no one will want after the reorganization.

The closure next February of an Olymel plant in Saint-Hyacinthe is seen as an injustice by some employees who fear for their future despite a worker reassignment plan announced Thursday by management.

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Roxane Laroche, of the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW), says she is disappointed that there is no reclassification committee at the x27;occasion of this reorganization.

We understand that with the labor shortage affecting the agri-food sector, Olymel has positions to fill, but we would have preferred to have a formal reclassification committee in order to redirect workers to jobs that suit them, insists Ms. Laroche.

Cautious, the mayor of Saint-Hyacinthe, André Beauregard, is content to say that he is disappointed with the closure and calls it good news the reassignment of employees to four companies close to his city.

Claude Bilodeau, who has 46 years of experience at the factory located on Saint-Jacques Street, is unconvinced by the prospects for reassignment of employees.

< p class="styled__StyledLegend-sc-v64krj-0 cfqhYM">Claude Bilodeau is an Olymel employee.

“These are always jobs on the evening and night shift. These are always jobs that are not interesting. »

— Claude Bilodeau, Olymel employee

I'm on the verge of retiring, it's not so bad for me. But there are those who have 5 to 15 years to work, adds Claude Bilodeau. No one wants to work for Olymel again. Not for jobs offered.

Mr. Bilodeau recalls that the company has already carried out a restructuring which eliminated about 60 jobs at the plant last summer and it was believed that the plant was saved. This is not the case.

Reacting to Claude Bilodeau's testimony on ICI RDI, Paul Beauchamp, first vice-president of Olymel, said he was very sensitive to the concerns of the workers. He promises to make his best efforts to relocate them to nearby establishments for those who wish.

“But it is certain that changing jobs after 46 years at home or elsewhere, there will be a shock to live. What we want is to minimize this shock by welcoming them to another of our establishments near the Saint-Hyacinthe plant. »

— Paul Beauchamp, Senior Vice-President, Olymel

According to Sylvain Charlebois, professor and director of the laboratory of analytical sciences in agri-food at Dalhousie University, Olymel is trying to recalibrate its resources and reorient the company. It also evokes a technological shift.

“We have no choice, labor is a big challenge for the entire agri-food subsidiary, including Olymel […]. We want to concentrate our efforts on certain factories, while others will have to be eliminated. »

— Sylvain Charlebois, Professor and Director of the Laboratory of Analytical Sciences in Agrifood at Dalhousie University

Further closures cannot be ruled out in the coming months , he adds.

The announcement of the closure of this plant comes at a time when Olymel is in the midst of reorganizing its activities.

In October, she announced the abolition of 177 managerial positions within the cooperative.

With information from Karine Bastien

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