Olymel gives workers COVID-19 bonus pay

The Olymel pork processing plant at 2330 Industrial Park Drive in Cornwall, Ont. (Newswatch Group/Bill Kingston, File)

SAINT-HYACINTHE, Que. – Pork and chicken processor Olymel will be giving employees bonus pay as they work to fill the supply chain during the coronavirus pandemic.

All employees paid by the hour in pork production, slaughtering, processing, transportation, maintenance and warehousing will be getting an extra $2 an hour.

The company says the bonus started Monday – regardless of whether a plant is unionized – and will apply to both the pork and poultry sections.

Olymel estimates it will be a benefit for the “vast majority” of workers and would equate to as much as $80 extra a week.

Administrative staff and support service employees “not essential” on site will be able to work from home, the company said.

Olymel adds it’s brought two medical advisers on staff, sent out five memos to staff on COVID-19 and is taking action to stagger breaks and lunchtimes to encourage social distancing.

It’s also implemented the “required 14-day self-isolation paid by the employer of all employees returning from abroad,” according to a company statement.

“Like the population and the governments, we recognize the essential nature of the work our employees are doing,” CEO Rejean Nadeau stated. “Despite the difficult circumstances, they are working hard to produce safe and healthy food that the population needs.”

Olymel’s Cornwall plant at 2330 Industrial Park Drive processes bacon, pre-cooked bacon and smoked hams. It has approximately 300 employees, according to the City of Cornwall’s business directory.

Walmart Canada has implemented similar bonus for its logistics and store associates. It will be a $200 bonus for full-time and $100 bonus for part-time workers in March and then a $2 per hour bonus in April.

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