NDP News Release on XL Foods

 News release
For Immediate Release
October 10, 2012

 NDP LEADER BRIAN MASON JOINS UNION, CALLS FOR ACTION ON XL FOODS

BROOKS, AB— Today, Alberta NDP Leader Brian Mason continued to raise concerns over Premier Allison Redford’s handling of the E.coli crisis in the province.

 At a press conference in Brooks, Alberta, he joined both the United Food and Commercial Workers Canada (UFCW Local 401) President Doug O’Halloran, the union representing the workers at the Brooks, Alberta XL Food plant, and Gil McGowan, the President of the Alberta Federation of Labour.

 “Between March 2011 and March 2012 the total work force at CFIA [Canadian Food Inspection Agency] was cut from 7,544 to 7,291,” said Mason. “Then this past April, another 308 jobs were cut. The Federal government plans to cut an additional $56 million more from its budget between now and 2015. When will this government realize that these cuts end up hurting Alberta’s beef industry and those it employs?”

 Production at the XL plant has gone from 2,500 cattle a day in 2004 to over 4,000 today, resulting in an increase in processing speed at the plant. That’s equal to two million pounds of beef or 3,000 steaks a minute. Yet, there has been no increase in the number of inspectors over last 12 months to reflect the increased work load. Employees have raised concerns about the lack of proper training and the need for whistle-blower protection for those who raise concerns and complaints about the dangerous work situations on the plant floor.

“The NDP is still the only party demanding accountability and answers from Premier Redford,” said Mason. “She must take responsibility for not standing up to CFIA cuts that will hurt the Alberta beef industry, workers and Albertans’ confidence in supporting our farmers and processors.”
 -30-

 For more information, please contact:
 Olenka Toroshenko
 Communications Assistant
 780.644.8669 (o), 780.935.9242 (m)
 Alberta’s NDP Opposition
 #501 Legislature Annex, 9718-107 St, Edmonton, AB. T5K 1E4
 www.NDPopposition.ab.ca

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