Employees at a Cargill meat manufacturing site in Calgary, Canada, have unanimously agreed to strike if a sufficient pay deal is not put on the table.

100% of workers, represented by the local branch of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW 401) have agreed to down tools.

According to the union, workers have called for new employment contracts “that address their needs in this economy” as many grapple with “an affordability crisis that has working families to make ends meet”.

The next scheduled talks between the parties will take place on 20 and 21 June, Cargill told Just Food.

In a statement, the agri-food giant added that it had “worked closely with the union representing Calgary employees to negotiate an agreement”.

“We have yet to reach an agreement and union members voted to authorise a potential labor disruption if one is not reached after future negotiations. This is a common part of the collective bargaining process”, it said.

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“We remain optimistic an agreement will be reached at those meetings, or soon after.”

The endorsement of industrial action follows more than 12 months of talks to establish a new contract, according to UFCW 401.

In a statement, Thomas Hesse, UFCW 401 president said: “As one of the largest privately-owned companies in the world and an agri-business giant that posted $177bn in revenues in 2023, Cargill can certainly afford to do the right thing.

“In this affordability crisis, every hour and every dollar counts for our members,” Hesse added.

“That’s why reasonable wage increases and a guarantee of hours are important enough to our Cargill Case Ready members to vote this strongly for strike action.”

Hesse added: “We genuinely hope Cargill will take advantage of the opportunity to do the right thing and show that they care about employees who have just sent them a very clear message about their needs”.

The meatpacking factory processes private-label poultry, pork and beef products for retail customers in Canada.

UFCW 401 was asked to confirm how many Cargill case ready plant employees it represents. Cargill declined to provide further details.

Last month, strikes commenced at another Canadian Cargill case ready meats plant in Ontario.

Close to 1,000 workers staged a walkout at the Dunlop plant after 82% voted against an pay offer made by Cargill.

A company spokesperson at the time said the proposal “included a wage increase in each year of the four-year settlement, with over a 9.3% increase in year one alone, retroactive pay dating back to 1 Jan 2024, benefit enhancements and a signing bonus.”

Besides the Ontario and Calgary facilities, Cargill also owns a case ready site in Quebec in the Chambly region.