A nurse on site at the Olymel plant in Yamachiche

Workers at the Olymel pig processing plant in Yamachiche have managed to secure the support of a nurse, who will be in place as of Thursday.

Already severely tested during the first wave, as nearly 150 of the approximately 1,000 employees contracted COVID-19, the plant has kept many measures in place to fight the pandemic.

Inside, everything is washed and disinfected: door handles, stair railings, thermostats. The many plexiglass dividers also bring back the hard memories of the first wave.

An employee who ended up in intensive care has still not returned to work, seven months after the outbreak. “This person had a particular condition which made her with this condition more at risk,” said United Food and Commercial Workers representative Roxane Larouche.

The announcement of the first three cases in this second wave, this week, rocked the troops.

“There is a persistent fear among the workers,” said Mme Larouche.


The employees obtained more measures on Tuesday afternoon. There will be a nurse on site as of Thursday.

“It then helps isolate people who could infect other workers more quickly,” said the representative.

The employer is also open to adding shuttles to discourage carpooling.

Olymel management has said that the situation at the Princeville plant should not be compared with the Yamachiche case.

“The public health services, with our collaboration, have not decreed that there was an outbreak of cases in Yamachiche,” Olymel spokesperson Richard Vigneault recalled, adding that the cases were isolated.

The Princeville plant had more than 90 cases on Tuesday.

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Salary advance to Olymel employees who must self-isolate while awaiting the test result

Olymel employees at Vallée-Jonction allegedly failed to report symptoms of the coronavirus before entering work, which prompted the company to give, from now on, a salary advance to its workers who must isolate themselves while awaiting the result of a test.

• Read also: COVID-19: a significant drop in cases in the Capitale-Nationale

This measure is part of an action plan put forward by Olymel to overcome the coronavirus outbreak in its Beauceronne pig slaughter and cutting plant, where 114 workers were diagnosed positively in Wednesday date, four more than the day before.

“Public Health has informed us that there are people […] who, like other companies and organizations elsewhere, were not reporting their symptoms. Most do, but Public Health has told us that one of the explanations for (sic) the outbreak could be it, ”said Richard Vigneault, spokesperson for Olymel.

A hypothesis “

Asked about the impact this may have had on the outbreak, Mr. Vigneault preferred to speak of a “hypothesis”.

Note that workers placed in isolation after receiving confirmation of their diagnosis already had salary insurance.

“This is a measure that we believe and Public Health believes will promote symptom reporting and then the initiative to get tested, and Olymel will pay for these tests. “

Massive screening has taken 581 employees since last Friday. This operation is now complete.

On Wednesday evening, however, the company was awaiting some results, so the balance sheet could grow further. Screening will continue, but in a more targeted manner, in sectors deemed to be more at risk.

Concerned union

Recall that a 65-year-old employee died last week just hours after learning he had COVID-19.

However, the exact cause of his death is not known.

Concerned by the situation, the president of the Olymel workers’ union in Vallée-Jonction, Martin Maurice, still advocates a shutdown of the plant for two weeks, to which the company closed the door again on Wednesday.

“We no longer want to have sick people and we want the world to stop infecting itself,” claims Maurice.

– With the collaboration of Martin Lavoie

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Olymel worker in Beauce dies hours after testing positive for COVID-19; 80 contaminated employees

An Olymel employee, who worked at the Vallée-Jonction pig slaughtering and cutting plant in Beauce, died hours after testing positive for coronavirus. At least 80 plant workers are currently infected with a major outbreak.

• Read also: Capitale-Nationale: a rise in confirmed cases of COVID-19

• Read also: All developments in the COVID-19 pandemic

According to the union, the 65-year-old worker had been home since last Friday because he suffered from symptoms related to COVID. He received his test result on Tuesday indicating he was positive and died within hours.

“When we returned from the Thanksgiving break, we started to see cases and they were added every day until last Friday when we had a call from Public Health to tell us that we had 38 cases, ”said Martin Maurice, president of the Olymel Workers Union in Vallée-Jonction.

Therefore, massive screening took place last Monday and Tuesday. A total of 160 workers have been tested for COVID-19. According to Maurice, around 80 tests came back positive including that of the worker who died.

“The employees are in shock. They have fears. They are waiting to see what the employer will do. Let’s face it, these are all colleagues who have worked alongside each other. Something has to happen, “said Maurice.

Last April, Olymel was forced to close the Yamachiche plant for two weeks due to the numerous cases of COVID. Cases had also been reported in Vallée-Jonction.

Several measures had been put in place to prevent new outbreaks, such as avoiding increased work shifts. Given the significant drop in cases over the summer, this measure was put aside, according to Maurice.

“During the first wave, the cases were concentrated in the evening. Now we are seeing the opposite. The infected are all daylight. Chain speeds are greatly reduced. Primary cuts are also reduced. We walk at a minimum, ”continued the president of the union.

“Personally, I think the solution is to shut down the factory for two weeks to get all the cases out,” he added.

Despite what happens, no closure is expected at this time, said Richard Vigneault, spokesperson for Olymel.

“We are sure we are in crisis management mode. We assess the situation hour by hour. We have discussions with public health authorities, the union and the CNESST, ”said Mr. Vigneault.

A health measures protocol is applied in all establishments, he said, and it will be in effect until the end of the pandemic.

“There was no relaxation. Currently, the important thing is that these measures remain in force, ”added Mr. Vigneault.

An investigation has been opened to determine the exact circumstances of the worker’s death.

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