Canadian beef plant workers vote in favour of new deal

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Cargill will halt efforts to have Nabiullina and others declared national security threats

Hundreds of workers at the Canadian subsidiary of US meat giant Cargill have voted in favour of a new collective agreement.

The results show 70.3 per cent of the workers voted in favour, according to the union’s Cargill president, Shelley Mazzillo.

Following a previous contract vote in April, workers have been on strike since 5 August at the company’s Bruderheim beef-packing plant in Alberta.

Canadian Cargill will halt efforts to have workers there declared national security threats.

The strike had a widespread impact on the supply of beef from Canada’s Alberta province. Cargill declared the strike an “emergency” in the early stages of negotiations.

Its original tactic of trying to stop production was widely viewed as an attempt to pressure workers to accept its deal on pay and benefits.

Canadian Cargill’s contract proposal included phasing out pensions entirely, with workers having to take out all the remaining benefits on the “case-by-case basis”.

Until the strike began, beef from the Bruderheim plant was used to feed millions of free-range and organic cattle in the United States.

The union now expects to reach an agreement with Canadian Cargill soon, Ms Mazzillo said.

Image copyright AFP Image caption Dairy farmers in Alberta are reporting a shortage of milk

As well as beef, the Bruderheim plant processes meat and bacon, as well as fish.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called the Cargill labour dispute a “conflict between hard-working Canadian workers and an unjust employer” that posed a “serious threat to national security”.

The current deal the workers rejected required employers to put up higher wages as well as allow production to continue beyond the 60-day limit normally set by Canadian Labour Code.

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