Approximately 600 workers at the Exceldor poultry transformation plant co-operative have been on strike for three weeks. Some 260 poultry producers have had no option but to euthanize their poultry supply, unable to send them to the transformation plant.
The workers demand a 40% raise over a three-year period.
The strike has resulted in the euthanasia of one million chickens as of today. That number is still growing.
Restaurants serving mostly poultry have raised concerns with the government, saying they could see a shortage of chicken in the coming weeks if the strike is not ended.
Industry players have been calling on the Quebec government to declare the poultry transformation industry (slaughter and preparation) to be an essential service. This would force workers to keep the plant in operation.
The Exceldor workers are requesting a $25 hourly wage. A first offer was made to raise their hourly wage from $20.71 to $22.51, with a one-time bonus of $1,500, but the union declined the offer.
The Minister of Labour, Employment and Social Solidarity, Jean Boulet, offered yesterday to bring in an arbiter to ease the negotiations between the co-op and the workers.
The co-op agreed to the arbitration offer, but the union declined.