Alta. gov’t directs Olymel workers to access support programs

Alta. gov’t directs Olymel workers to access support programs
Jan 22, 2024

Olymel is laying off employees from its Red Deer, Alta. plant

By Diego Flammini
Staff Writer

The Alberta government is encouraging workers at Olymel’s pork processing facility affected by upcoming layoffs to access support programs.

“Alberta’s government recognizes it is challenging every time hard-working Albertans lose their jobs,” the Ministry of Jobs, Economy and Trade told in an email. “Affected workers are encouraged to access programs and services that will help them get back to work. These programs and services include income support, emotional support, coping with job loss and help finding new employment.” contacted the provincial government following news that Olymel is laying off up to 100 people from its Red Deer plant, and calls from the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 401 for the government to be there for workers.

“Workers are facing unprecedented challenges due to the global affordability crisis. No one wants to contemplate unemployment for any amount of time on top of that,” UFCW Local 401 President Thomas Hesse said in a statement. “While we understand that Olymel expects these adjustments will be temporary and remains confident about the future viability of the Plant, our union believes it is time for the provincial government to step up and provide tangible relief for food workers and their families.”

Olymel most recently cut Alberta staff in May 2023.

The company laid off 80 people between Alberta and Saskatchewan when it reduced hog production and its sow herd from 57,000 to 40,000.

At the time, Olymel estimated the affects from these decisions wouldn’t be felt until at least 2024.

The company has about 13,000 employees working in 30 offices, plants and distribution centres worldwide, its website says.

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