Cargill in London, Ontario suspends manufacturing as COVID-19 instances rise to 82 – London


Cargill’s poultry processing facility in London, Ontario will cease production effective Tuesday in response to a growing COVID-19 outbreak at the facility.

At least 82 active cases are currently linked to the outbreak, according to Cargill, which employs around 900 people at its London facility.

It’s a dramatic increase from just nine cases reported by the Middlesex-London Health Unit a week ago.

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Cargill says the move to temporarily shut down the facility was taken “out of caution”, adding that employees are guaranteed 36 hours of wages per week during the shutdown.

The company also states that it has made tests available to all employees and is “working closely” with the MLHU and other health units to ensure that appropriate health measures are in place.

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“As we continue to prioritize the health and safety of Cargill employees, we have decided to temporarily shut down our London protein facility,” said Derek Hill, general manager of Cargill’s London facility.

“This was a difficult decision for our team, who run an essential service and are committed to delivering groceries to families across Canada and ensuring the resilience of our supply chain. But ultimately, the safety and well-being of our employees come first. They are everyday heroes on the front lines of our food system. “

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Tim Deelstra, spokesman for Natives 175 and 633 for the United Food and Commercial Workers Union, says operations will be suspended for 14 days to allow time for cleaning and to implement additional health and safety measures.

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“It’s a pretty big outbreak that has occurred at the facility and people are concerned about their health and safety. And as a union that represents workers, we worry about them too, ”Deelstra told Global News.

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He added that numerous health and safety precautions were already in place at the plant, but the union was pushing for vaccinations for workers in industrial food and grocery stores.

“It’s pretty clear that here in Ontario and in Canada you are doing important work for all of us,” he said.

“So we’re continuing this call and trying to work with all levels of government to give these workers priority access to a vaccine.”

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Cargill has faced outbreaks across Canada, including the country’s largest COVID-19 outbreak at its High River, Alta. Facility, which involved at least 945 cases among workers. At least two employees at the High River beef processing plant have died from COVID-19.

More recently, the Guelph, Ontario meat processing facility was shut down for about two weeks in December due to an outbreak that had at least 143 cases.

– With files from Jill Croteau, Adam MacVicar, Heather Yourex-West, and Matt Carty of Global News

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