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Province's Stance Disappoints Poultry Processor

by 5m Editor
3 February 2010, at 9:28am

NEW BRUNSWICK, CANADA - Nadeau Maple Lodge says it is disappointed the province will not intervene in the ongoing battle between two poultry companies in the province.

Yves Landry, manager of the Nadeau poultry processing plant in Saint-François-de-Madawaska, says the business proposal made by its former supplier, Westco Group, does not meet the requirements of the ministerial order issued last week, which demands that all chickens raised in New Brunswick to be processed here.

Telegraph-Journal reports that the province decided to issue the order, an amendment to the Natural Products Act, because Ontario and Quebec recently put limits on exports of chicken from those provinces.

In response to the order, Westco, which has a chicken processing plant in Saint-François-de-Madawaska, proposed that Nadeau would slaughter its chickens, then return them to Westco to be processed, marketed, and sold through its partner company, Quebec-based Sunnymel.

Last week, after Nadeau rejected the proposal, New Brunswick Agriculture Minister Ronald Ouellette called on Nadeau and Westco to sit down and negotiate. He said the province would not intervene further.

In a statement released Monday, Mr Landry said only 50 of 165 laid-off Nadeau workers would return to their jobs as a result of the business proposal.

Nadeau was forced to lay off 165 of its 352 employees last year when Westco started sending its chickens to Sunnymel.

Mr Landry said the majority of jobs at Nadeau involve processing chickens, which includes everything from preparation and packing to maintenance and sanitation.

He said: "All of those roles and the jobs associated with them would be moved to Quebec."

Mr Landry said he is surprised the government does not want to intervene, since the order was "clearly" meant to restore the level of employment at Nadeau.

He told Telegraph-Journal that Nadeau is open to mediated discussions with Westco, provided they include long-term strategies to restore stability to the industry.

Westco had previously accounted for about 80 per cent of Nadeau's chicken supply, equal to between 140,000 to 200,000 chickens per week.

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