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Laid off Cavendish Farms workers opt for recall

Most of the 60 people who lost their jobs at the Cavendish Farms plant in New Annan, P.E.I. last week are hoping they will be able to get back on with the company, says a union representative.

Company made cuts to deal with international competition in food processing

Most of the 60 people who lost their jobs at the Cavendish Farms plant in New Annan, P.E.I. last week are hoping they will be able to get back on with the company, says a union representative.

In addition to the layoffs at Cavendish Farms, some workers are being forced back into shift work, says Craig Walsh of the United Food and Commercial Workers. (CBC)

The company, which produces french fries and other frozen potato products, announced on Thursday it was cutting back on staff. It said it needs to reduce costs to deal with increased international competition.

Craig Walsh of the United Food and Commercial Workers told CBC News workers were given two options: three weeks severance pay, or a spot on a recall list for up to two years.

"The vast majority of people chose to be on the recall list, because there's only so many good jobs out there," said Walsh.

He said since Thursday at least three people have already been called back to work. Large companies like Cavendish Farms, Walsh said, often have high turnover.

Donna Hughes is about to retire from Cavendish Farms, but feels for her younger co-workers. (CBC)

"They are going to be running pretty lean, so when someone leaves they're going to have to replace them right away," he said.

Donna Hughes, who has worked at the plant for almost 23 years, said the timing is not so bad for her. She wasn't laid off, but will be taking an early retirement package offered to employees over the age of 60.

She was planning to retire anyway, she said, and feels for her younger co-workers.

"At this time of the year too it's sad to hear that there's quite a few people unemployed," said Hughes.

It isn't just laid off workers who are feeling these cutbacks. Walsh said other employees have been taken off days and forced back into shift work.

For mobile device users:If you were offered three weeks' severance or a two-year recall, which would you take?

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