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Maple Leaf looks to ramp up Brandon hog kill

Winnipeg (Resource News International) —With the addition of a second shift at Maple Leaf Foods’ hog plant at Brandon, Manitoba
on September 4, the company expects a ramp-up in slaughter
capacity over the next six to eight weeks, according to an
official with Maple Leaf.

“The current hog slaughter capacity of 45,000 to 50,000 hogs
per week is expected to climb to at least 75,000 per week by the
end of October,” said Jeanette Jones, director of communications for
Maple Leaf.

The ramp-up in slaughter was going according to the

company’s plan, she added.

Part of the increase in hog numbers is expected to come as Maple Leaf
continues with its stated plan to close facilities in other parts
of the country — including its Winnipeg facility on Marion Street, scheduled to close October 26, Jones said.

“The transfer of hogs from other facilities has begun,” Jones
said.

The second phase of Maple Leaf’s plan will be to move to
a second cutting shift at the Brandon facility sometime in 2009,
Jones said.

Several elements need to be in place before the second cut shift will be implemented, including the
placement of personnel and additional construction at the
facility, she said.

The reorganization of Maple Leaf will result in the
company taking six plants out of operation and moving their production to one
double-shifted plant in Brandon by 2009, Jones said.

Blake Crothers, a spokesman for the United Food and
Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 832, confirmed that the ability of
Maple Leaf to move to a second slaughter shift came amid the
importation of migrant workers, mainly from China.

The employees who have been brought over are now members of
the UFCW union, he said.

“Maple Leaf had been training these new employees for a
couple of months in view of moving to a second slaughtering
shift,” he confirmed.

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