Strikers block 50 tonnes of Labeyrie smoked salmon in cold storage

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Salmon processors blocked fish in protest during busy Christmas period over departure conditions.

Delpierre is at the centre of industrial action at its soon-to-close site in Wisches, north east France. The company is owned by Labeyrie Fine Foods, one of Europe’s largest smoked salmon producers Labeyrie Fine Foods.

BFMTV reports that on Wednesday morning workers in protest blocked around 50 tonnes of smoked salmon, worth about EUR 0.2 million, in cold storage. Police officers were then called out to remove the employees from the factory compound, and the loading of smoked salmon began in the early afternoon.

Workers have been on strike since last Monday, and represented by unions, are disputing pay over leaving conditions.

One of France’s main salmon processors, Labeyrie Fine Foods has been considering soon closing the Wisches facility into its Saint-Geours-de-Maremne site, Southwestern France, and/or Fécamp, in the North. Wisches has 150 workers but employs up to 300 during busy seasons.

The shift in operations is to improve its thin margins in the face of competition from labour-cheap Poland.

“The blocking of the site, strategic during the festive period, is the starting point for the construction of a balance of power that must force management to review its copy,” the union told the publication. “We think we will close in February, but we are not completely sure,” it added.

All these measures are to be discussed on both sides, but the aim is for these negotiations to reach an agreement,” said a spokesperson for Labeyrie group to BFMTV.

“If these goods are not shipped quickly, they will perish,” they added.