The plant closure leaves 216 staff out of work; Old Dutch says the plant had reached the end of its economic life
Lachine, Que. – A Canadian snack food maker is closing a 49-year-old plant and laying off 216 staff.
Old Dutch Foods Ltd. says the plant and warehouse operations will cease as of Sept. 27, 2013.
The 216 employees are unionized, and their four-year contract expires on June 30. The MontrealGazette.com says the bulk of the workers are mechanics and warehouse workers who earn $25 an hour. In addition, 65 support staff make $18.50 an hour.
The company says the plant had reached the end of its economic life and it wasn’t feasible to renovate it or open a new generation snack facility in the area.
Going forward, the Quebec market will be supplied by other Old Dutch Foods plants in Canada. Sales operations will continue normally and it is anticipated that customers will not experience any supply disruption while this transition takes place.
CTV Montreal reports that the plant, which was built in Montreal’s south west in 1964 by Humpty Dumpty Inc., had operated continuously for over nearly five decades. In 2006, Old Dutch purchased Humpty Dumpty for $26.7M.
In the seven years since Humpty Dumpty changed hands, the new owners did not change the logo on the outside of the factory on Norman St., adds CTV Montreal.
Old Dutch has Canadian processing plants in Winnipeg, Calgary and Airdrie, Alta. as well as a recently expanded potato chip plant at Hartland, N.B., northwest of Fredericton. The company also operates U.S. plants in Minneapolis and Roseville, Minn.
The Old Dutch brand, whose following is largely in Western Canada, reports AlbertaFarmExpress.ca, Humpty Dumpty has a significant presence in the East, with products such as potato sticks, cheese sticks, corn chips, party mix, Ringolos, Cruncheez and ChedACorn.
CBC.ca reports that the Quebec government saw no signs that there were any problems at the plant. The site also reports that Industrial Policy Minister Elaine Zakaib says many factories in Quebec have not invested enough to modernize their facilities. She says Quebec is considering introducing measures that will encourage companies to spend more money on renovations.
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