Significant wage increases coming for Olymel employees

Workers walk outside the Olymel pork processing plant, Thursday, October 29, 2020 in Vallee-Jonction, Que. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jacques Boissinot

Due to a shortage of workers, salaries have just been significantly increased for unionized employees at Olymel. Other working conditions have also been improved.

The members of the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) union, affiliated with the FTQ, at the Yamachiche and Saint-Esprit plants, have just ratified the two agreements in principle that were reached following the reopening of the collective agreements, by 94 per cent and 90.5 per cent respectively.

In Saint-Esprit, the hourly wage was raised from $17.35 last May to $20.50. In Yamachiche, it is increased from the 2020 wage of $17.85 to $20.50 per hour.

And after four months, the wage is raised to nearly $23 an hour. Previously, the worker had to wait three years to move up to the second step.

For those working as deboners, the wage even rises to $25.20 per hour.

The minimum wage in Quebec is $13.50, but will increase to $14.25 in May

"In the market, it is the best collective agreement in the slaughtering sector," said Roxane Larouche, spokesperson for the UFCW.

She also reported that several premiums have been increased. The evening premium has been increased from 60 cents to $2 per hour. The trainer's premium has been increased from 75 cents to $1.75 per hour.

Improvements have also been made to the pension plan, as well as to group insurance.

Olymel management confirmed the significant improvement in working conditions, which was caused by difficulties in recruiting workers, in addition to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

"We have effectively improved our working conditions and remuneration in order to attract and retain employees," explained Richard Vigneault, Olymel's corporate communications manager.

He pointed out that Olymel even offers a bonus for COVID-19 vaccine doses.

The large agri-food company is looking to recruit no less than 3,000 employees in Canada.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published in French on Jan. 14, 2022

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