With an uncertain timeline for the re-opening of the packing plant, XL Foods had made the decision to temporarily layoff 2000 of its union workers. Up until this point XL Foods has been honoring the contract of the workers during the shut down but that has stopped immediately.
This layoff does not mean that the plant is not going to reopen under XL Foods by the Nilssons selling the plant or moth-balling it. It still appears that they are working to get the plant re-certified and back up and running as soon as they can. They lack of CFIA timeline appears to be the reasons given by XL Foods.
In reality this layoff would indicate that the timeline for re-opening the plant is not a very fast process and would lead many to believe that an impossibility next week.
In a Calgary Herald article,
Doug O’Halloran, president of the local UFCW, said workers were informed of the layoffs this afternoon in a meeting. They take effect immediately, he said, and there is no timeline for when workers might get their jobs back.
“I’m as shocked as I’m sure the rest of the workers are,” he said on Saturday afternoon.
“It’s a very difficult time for them because most people live paycheque to paycheque.”
The lack of a timeline from CFIA is beginning to really weigh on beef industry as a whole. Many producers are beginning to question the political intentions of CFIA as they continue to drag out the process of getting the plant back on stream. CFIA has maintained that they are following protocol and will re-license the plant when the process is complete.