Maple Leaf Foods, union contract aids foreign workers

by Editor fleischwirtschaft.com
Friday, January 08, 2010

Employees at the Maple Leaf Foods hog processing plant in Brandon, Manitoba (Canada), have approved a new contract that holds the company accountable for helping foreign workers gain citizenship, CBC reported.

The 2,300 workers voted 78% in favour of the five-year deal, which includes wage increases and job reclassifications that will result in pay raises of up to 9% as well as improvements to the pension plan.

The contract also includes new rights and protections for temporary foreign workers. Three-quarters of the meatpacking company's workforce are immigrants, the majority of whom are fast-tracked into the country under Manitoba's provincial nominee programme, which began in 1998.

Maple Leaf Foods, which processes 86,000 hogs each week at its Brandon plant, has had trouble recruiting local workers. It spends about $6,000 to recruit and train each foreign worker it brings in.

Maple Leaf Foods has also agreed to translate the contract and employee handbook and provide translators for foreign workers.
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