Saputo to axe 230 jobs with three plant closures

By Jim Cornall

- Last updated on GMT

Three Saputo dairy plants in eastern Canada are to be closed, with the loss of more than 200 jobs.
Three Saputo dairy plants in eastern Canada are to be closed, with the loss of more than 200 jobs.

Related tags Milk 2016

Canadian dairy giant Saputo is closing three of its facilities in eastern Canada.

The move, which the company says is to improve operational efficiency, means 230 jobs will go in Ottawa, Ontario; Sydney, Nova Scotia; and Princeville, Québec.

The Nova Scotia plant will close in June 2016, with the Princeville closure in August 2016, followed by the plant in the nation’s capital, Ottawa, in December 2017.

Saputo says that production at the three sites will be integrated into other Saputo facilities, and that some employees will be offered the possibility of transferring to other Saputo locations.

The communications team at Saputo told DairyReporter that where production would be moved to is not something the company would disclose, and said, "We do not publicly disclose the types of products made in each of our facilities."

Recent closures

The plant in Sydney was formerly owned by Scotsburn, and was transferred to Saputo in 2014.

In 2014, Saputo announced the closures of its evaporated milk plant in Wetaskiwin, Alberta, and its powdered milk processing facility in Glenwood, Alberta.

At the same time, closures of the Swiss cheese plant in New London, Wisconsin, and mozzarella facility in Hancock, Maryland, were revealed.

In 2013, Saputo signaled plans to close its manufacturing facility in Warwick, Quebec.  In November 2012, Saputo informed the 40 employees of its Winkler, Manitoba, facility that the plant would close.

Ottawa union unhappy

Teamsters Canada Local Union 647, which represents some of the workers, responded to the announcement by saying that Saputo is forcing middle class families into tough times.

It said that many of the Ottawa plant's 100 workers are parents who rely on their weekly paycheck to support their families.

"The company needs to offer a much better severance package and respect the workers who help build up this company. Many of the workers have children who depend on them,”​ said union representative Martin Cerqua.

Savings by 2019

Costs connected with the closures will be approximately $17.6m (C$23m) after taxes, which include an after tax fixed assets write-down of approximately $14.5m (C$19m).

The company says it believes annual savings after taxes should commence in fiscal 2017 and gradually increase over the next two fiscal years, reaching approximately $5.4m (C$7m) in 2019.

Saputo said that it intends to add approximately $24.5m (C$32m) in new fixed assets in other Saputo facilities over the course of the next two fiscal years. 

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