Alberta labour group demands meeting over COVID-19 outbreak at Olymel pork plant

The president of the Alberta Federation of Labour wants a meeting with the premier and provincial labour minister to ensure workplaces with COVID-19 outbreaks are shut down.

Read more: Olymel temporarily closes Alberta pork plant because of COVID-19 outbreak

Gil McGowan is making the demand a day after Olymel indefinitely closed its pork plant in central Alberta, which has been linked to hundreds of virus cases and the death of one worker.

READ MORE: ‘A tragedy in every sense’: Union wants Red Deer pork plant shut down after worker dies of COVID-19 

He says he aims to remind the United Conservative government that its job is to protect the public and not the profits of corporations.

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A statement from the labour group links to a letter that Alberta Health Services wrote to Olymel last week, which says on-site testing suggests one in five workers may have been infected.

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The letter also says about 60 per cent of Olymel staff hold at least one other job outside the plant and those other employers must be notified of positive cases.

Read more: High River Cargill meat plant under second COVID-19 outbreak

In a statement to Global News on Tuesday, AHS said no violations that would have prompted a closure order were noted during visits to the Olymel site.

Since the outbreak was declared last November, AHS said it has visited the site on “multiple occasions” and Olymel acted “swiftly” on any recommendations made for further improvements to existing health measures.

Olymel has said it shut down the hog slaughtering, cutting and deboning plant because it believed it could no longer be operated safely and efficiently.

– With a file from Kirby Bourne, 630 CHED

— More to come.. 

© 2021 The Canadian Press

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