’It’s just chaos’

Over the weekend XL Foods laid off 2,000 workers, thus bringing a halt to inspections at the plant.

It blamed the decision on the fact the federal government hadn’t given it a firm date for when it would get its license back in order to fully resume operations. “XL Foods is committed to the best interests of the cattle industry, our employees, the city of Brooks and all affected by the idling of the Brooks facility,” Brian Nilsson, co-CEO of XL, said in the news release. “We are hopeful that the CFIA will bring this to a swift and viable resolution.”

Lee Nilsson, fellow co-CEO, also made a pointed reference to the agency in an interview Friday with the Alberta Farmer Express. “I know it’s caused a great amount of turmoil in the beef community. I’d just like to say hang on because all things will pass, but at this point there seems to be an uncertainty as to which direction CFIA is going with regard to E. coli at my plant, or any other plant in the country,” Mr. Nilsson said.

XL Foods then announced that 800 employees would be recalled so that inspections could continue.

Doug O’Halloran, president of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union local 401, which represents the employees at the plant, said management has bungled the entire situation. “Again, it’s just chaos, and I guess it begs the question, is there something further wrong with the XL Plant that they’re not sharing, because why would you lay these people off who may go get other jobs if you need these workers when the plant fully reopens?” said O’Halloran. “It doesn’t make any business sense.”