Gradual reopening of Olymel's Red Deer plant begins

05 Mars, 2021, 09:49 | Auteur: Therese Cote
  • 'A frightened workforce': Union worries as Olymel reopens after COVID-19 shutdown

The union representing workers at the Olymel pork processing plant in Red Deer says another person has died as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak at the facility. Slaughter operations will resume Thursday followed by cutting room operations on Friday. The plant processes about 10,000 hogs a day.

"What you've got is a frightened workforce". Although 1,370 employees at the plant have been tested since January 1, 2021, AHS experts will be on site when operations resume and will offer rapid testing.

Hesse said the union interviewed between 600 and 700 workers who indicated they were afraid to return to work. He said that wasn't done by Olymel, Alberta Health Services or Occupational Health and Safety.

Hesse said he expects some workers will take advantage of their right to refuse unsafe work.

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"To date, 500 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed among Olymel employees". I'm hoping that he will appropriately compensate meat producers.

NDP Leader Rachel Notley is calling for an inquiry into the outbreak at Olymel.

Following AHS, OHS and Environmental Public Health (EPH) inspections of the plant on Monday and Wednesday, Olymel says AHS made several recommendations aimed at adjusting and reinforcing certain measures that were already in place and gave the green light to gradually resume operations. Alberta Health experts are to be on site and are to offer rapid testing. The company said 1,370 employees at the plant have been tested since January 1. Additional staff has already been assigned to monitor and enforce these measures. Employee groups have been recalled to take part in training sessions covering all implemented health measures, adjustments and the action plan developed for reopening.

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