Olymel l.p. announces a major rationalization of operations at its Iberville
processing and packaging plant

ST-HYACINTHE, QC, April 26 /CNW Telbec/ - Today Olymel l.p. announced that it would embark on an extensive rationalization of operations at its poultry products processing and pre-packaging plant in the Iberville district of Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu which will result in the loss of 183 jobs and changes in three of its other facilities specializing in poultry, i.e., at Berthierville (Lanaudière) and Ste-Rosalie (Montérégie) in Québec and Brampton, Ontario. The Iberville plant, which currently employs 308 workers, produces mainly skewers, tournedos steaks and other poultry, fresh traypack products, and deboned chicken thighs.

"This rationalization will eliminate 183 jobs at Iberville, which has unfortunately become necessary in order to combine the same type of activities in a market where we are facing lower demand for certain products." This reorganization will result in significant gains in efficiency, better productivity and major cost savings, in particular on transportation costs. We hope to maintain as many jobs as possible in a very competitive poultry market, and we are doing our best to re-assign the laid-off employees," noted Olymel President and CEO Réjean Nadeau.

Fresh pre-packaged product operations currently being done at the Iberville plant will be carried out at the poultry slaughtering and cutting plant at Berthierville, which already supplies raw materials to the Iberville plant. This will make it possible to maintain all the jobs at the Berthierville plant. The Iberville plant will also cease its chicken thigh deboning operations. The Olymel facility at Brampton, Ontario, which already specializes in this operation, has enough capacity to meet demand in this product category. Lastly, chicken deboning volumes currently being done at Berthierville will now be processed at the Olymel plant in Ste-Rosalie, which will mean that 25 employees will be recalled at this plant in the Montérégie. This rationalization of operations thus represents a shift in product volumes, but does not require any equipment relocation.

125 jobs will be maintained at the Iberville plant in St-Jean-sur-Richelieu in the tournedos, skewer, souvlaki and processed poultry sector. The 183 employees whose positions will be eliminated, including 155 persons assigned to production, 5 to maintenance and 23 management personnel, have received layoff notices in accordance with the provisions of the Act respecting labour standards. The notice goes into effect in 12 weeks, on July 16. A re-assignment committee will be set up, and when hiring to meet its manpower needs at other facilities the company will give preference to employees who have been laid off.

About Olymel l.p.

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

SOURCE Olymel l.p.

For further information: For further information: Olymel l.p.: Richard Vigneault, Communications, (450) 771-0400, Cell.: (514) 497-1385

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