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October 7, 2022

Danish Crown pares job cuts at two pig abattoirs

What were 350 job cuts flagged in September have now been more than halved.

By Simon Harvey

Meat group Danish Crown has pared its plans for potential job job cuts at two local slaughterhouses.

Last month, Danish Crown flagged 350 redundancies at abattoirs in Sæby and Ringsted because of fewer pigs coming in for slaughter as farmers grapple with “record-high” feed and energy costs, with some giving up all together.

However, those numbers have now been more than halved through a combination of longer working days with more breaks and a reshuffling of staff.

At Sæby, a town on the east coast of Denmark, 275 jobs were originally slated to be culled but that now falls to around 115, a company spokesperson confirmed. More staff will shift to a daytime working pattern producing ham and will take an additional 15-minute break to allow for a longer day.

A further 75 jobs were set to be axed at the abattoir in Ringsted, a city 60km from the capital Copenhagen. Those have been cut to 25 as some workers have opted for voluntary redundancies or moved into other functions at the slaughterhouse.

The reduction in pig numbers has also affected Tönnies in Germany. Between 500 and 600 slaughtering and cutting positions have been eliminated since June across its sites in Sögel, Lower Saxony, and Weißenfels in the south of Saxony-Anhalt. The UK arm of meat processor Pilgrim’s Pride has also set out plans to close two pig slaughterhouses, putting 675 jobs at risk.

This week, the EU said pork production from the bloc will drop 5% this year due to higher feed costs and African swine fever. The United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization also made reference to the difficulties today (7 October) in its monthly food commodity price report.

The FAO noted “world pig meat prices rose due to a supply shortfall of ready-to-slaughter animals in the European Union”.

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