No work at Country Ribbon for 'weeks to come,' as company preps for strike

A labour dispute at Country Ribbon's two chicken plants in St. John's will lead to a work shutdown for several weeks, according to a company memo.

No new chickens have been placed in company barns since Oct. 5

The Country Ribbon chicken processing plant is located in Pleasantville, in the east end of St. John's. (CBC)

About 300 workers at Country Ribbon will be staying home for several weeks, as the company has made the decision not to incubate eggs until after a strike vote is held.

According to a memo from CEO Ian Blenkharn obtained by CBC News, the company has not placed new chicks in its barn since Oct. 5.

At the end of this week, Blenkharn says all the company's chickens will be removed humanely due to the risk there could be no workers to feed them or process them after a strike vote. The earliest a vote could be held is Saturday but there isn't one scheduled.

"At that time, there will regrettably be no employment at Country Ribbon Inc. for many weeks to come," he wrote.

Blenkharn says if the company continues to stop stocking their barn with chicks, "it could be at least eight weeks to restart our industry and to maximize full employment."

Employees rejected the latest contract offer from Country Ribbon this past weekend.

Blenkharn says he tried to meet with the employees on Monday to discuss details of a proposed pay raise and extension of work hours, but the workers walked out of the meeting.

According to the memo, Country Ribbon is offering employees a raise of 30 cents an hour each year for the next three years, and is asking employees to work on Saturday in cases where extreme weather stops operations during the week.

Clarifications

  • While a strike vote could be held Saturday, it has not been scheduled.
    Oct 19, 2017 1:10 PM NT