Nadeau Maple Lodge rejects Westco's proposal and seeks more than the
ministerial order

SAINT-FRANÇOIS-DE-MADAWASKA, NB, Jan. 27 /CNW Telbec/ - Yesterday, Nadeau Maple Lodge rejected the proposal for contract killing made by Groupe Westco, insisting instead that Westco cede ownership of its birds so that Nadeau can sell them itself after slaughtering and processing are completed. It is interesting to note that, in its reply, Nadeau Maple Lodge no longer speaks of the 175 workers it claimed had lost their jobs, and instead mentions only 115 workers.

Westco deplores the attitude taken by Nadeau Maple Lodge and implores the Government of New Brunswick to intervene in the negotiations. The Westco proposal, submitted last Friday, is in full compliance with the Ministerial Order and would temporarily ensure processing of New Brunswick poultry at Nadeau Maple Lodge, provided the chickens are returned to Westco once they have been processed to be marketed by the latter through its Sunnymel partnership.

"As the government requested, we proposed a solution that implemented the terms of the Ministerial Order and we agreed to the mediation proposed by the Government. Nadeau Maple Lodge, meanwhile, has not been open to mediation and insists that ownership of our birds be ceded to it, even though the Ministerial Order does not require this. We hope that Agriculture and Aquaculture Minister Ouellette will be able to convince Nadeau Maple Lodge to reconsider its position so that Westco can begin delivering chickens for contract killing as soon as possible. We have done everything possible to be in compliance with the Ministerial Order, in spite of the short deadlines, and Westco will not make any more concessions beyond what is required in the order," concluded Westco President and CEO Thomas Soucy.

Westco still regards the Government of New Brunswick's decision as invalid and unconstitutional, and continues to explore all available recourses.

About Westco

Groupe Westco inc. is a New Brunswick company with its head office in Saint-François-de-Madawaska. The result of a common vision for expansion by many poultry producers, the company has become a model of success and profitability. Westco owns its own hatcheries, breeding farms, and shipping companies, and is also one of the largest poultry production organizations in Canada. The company has a strong commitment to the community, and sponsors several social programs and contributes to fund-raising initiatives in its region.

About Olymel l.p.

Olymel l.p. is a leader in the slaughtering, processing and distribution of pork and poultry meat products in Canada, with facilities in Québec, Ontario, and Alberta. The company employs more than 10,000 persons and exports nearly half of its production, mainly to the United States, Japan and Australia, as well as some sixty other countries. Its sales stood at $2 billion, with a slaughtering and processing capacity of 160,000 hogs and 1.7 million birds every week. The company markets its products mainly under the Olymel, Lafleur, and Flamingo brands.

SOURCE WESTCO GROUP INC.

For further information: For further information: Olymel l.p.: Richard Vigneault, Communications, (514) 497-1385, (450) 771-0400; Groupe Westco Inc.: Martin Daraiche, Senior Consultant, Le Cabinet de relations publiques NATIONAL, (418) 648-1233, ext. 230, Cell. (418) 571-8528


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