Europe's leading poultry processing group is introducing a part-time working programme from next week for around 500 to 600 of its staff in response to a 25-30% slump in sales driven by bird flu fears.
 
The programme, to run from 13 March to 30 June 2006, will affect staff working at 11 of Doux's plants in France.  In addition, 400 fixed-term contracts will not be renewed.  The group's total workforce is currently 5,700.
 
Doux is also faced with swelling stocks of frozen poultry largely as a result of an embargo on French exports to almost 50 countries. These have increased from 800 tonnes on December last year to more than 8,000 tonnes currently.
 
The group has requested financial help in destroying these stocks as well as lobbying the government for the urgent freeing up of a recently announced package of aid to the poultry sector as a whole totaling EUR63m (US$74.98).