Canada's Olymel cancels hog purchases amid plant strike

WINNIPEG, Manitoba (Reuters) - One of Canada's biggest pork processors, Olymel LP, has canceled purchases of 23,000 hogs from Ontario due to a strike at its second-largest slaughterhouse, it said on Tuesday. About 1,000 workers at Olymel's Vallée-Jonction, Quebec plant, belonging to the Confederation Des Syndicats Nationaux (CSN) union went on strike on March 18 and rejected Olymel's latest offer a day later. Pay is the main outstanding issue, according to reports. Olymel spokesman Richard Vigneault said canceling the purchase of Ontario hogs will make it difficult to quickly resume production at the plant if a settlement is reached. The plant has weekly slaughtering capacity of 35,000 pigs and produces pork mostly for U.S. and Japanese buyers. CSN said in a release last week that the union hoped to return to talks as soon as possible. It declined to comment on Tuesday. Toronto-based Maple Leaf Foods , Olymel's biggest competitor, said Olymel's plant shutdown had not affected it as it only acquires hogs from Western Canada. (Reporting by Rod Nickel in Winnipeg, Manitoba; Editing by Diane Craft)

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