Olymel’s Red Deer pork processing plant is one of two affected by China’s decision to suspend pork export permits. Olymel is assessing the situation and could not say whether plant operations will be affected. Photo by PAUL COWLEY/Advocate staff

Olymel workers get hourly pandemic bonus

Most of pork and poultry producer’s workers to get extra $2 an hour

Olymel is giving its workers a $2 hourly bonus in recognition of their efforts to keep the food supply chain intact.

The Saint-Hyacinthe, Que.-based pork and poultry producer said Tuesday the bonus kicked in Monday and affects all its hourly paid workers across Canada, including at Red Deer’s pork plant.

Workers in pork production, slaughtering operations, processing, transportation, maintenance and warehousing are all eligible for the bonus, which could mean an additional $80 per week for many workers.

All administrative support service employees whose presence at work is not essential have been cleared to work from home.

A pair of medical experts have been recruited to advise the company on how best to apply public health authorities’ COVID-19 directives. Information on the virus has been circulated, action plans developed and additional disinfection measures put into place.

Employees returning from abroad and temporary foreign workers arriving after the government called for a 14-day quarantine will be paid by the company during that time. Visits to company facilities is now prohibited and non-essential travel halted.

“Our company intends to efficiently meet the food needs of the population and appreciates the agri-food production and processing sectors being designated as essential manufacturing activities by governments, particularly in Quebec,” said Olymel president and CEO Rejean Nadeau in a statement.

“Like the population and the governments, we recognize the essential nature of the work our employees are doing. Despite the difficult circumstances, they are working hard to produce safe and healthy food that the population needs.”

Olymel employs more than 14,000 people and has production and processing facilities in Quebec, Ontario, Alberta, New Brunswick and Saskatchewan.



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