Slaughterhouse workers vote against paycuts

Job cuts are in sight at Danish Crown after 60 percent of its staff voted against a pay decrease that would have prevented the company from downsizing

Danish Crown slaughterhouse workers voted down a proposal to take a pay cut in order to keep their jobs.

Some 60 percent of the 6,000 employees voted against the deal that would see them take a 6.4 percent pay cut over a four-year period.

The pay cut was floated by union representatives two weeks ago after the pork producer announced that it may have to cut 1,000 jobs to remain competitive.

READ MORE: Political praise for pay cut

Pay cut would stop job cuts
In a press release this afternoon, Danish Crown announced that the proposal would have helped re-establish pork production, which has been shrinking over the past two years.

“As union representatives we are aware that we had chosen a new direction by proposing that we as employees should invest in our workplaces,” Lars Mose, shop steward of the slaughterhouse in Horsens, stated in a press release. “But I have to admit that we did it in the hope that we could keep our jobs."

READ MORE: Strategy to keep manufacturing jobs at home

Less pork, fewer jobs
Erik Bredholt, the chair of the Danish Crown board, stated in the press release that it is not the responsibility of Danish Crown employees to re-establish pork production in Denmark.

“But the amount of pork produced in Denmark is inextricably linked with the number of available jobs, so it’s disappointing that the vote went the way it did,” he stated.

The proposal had been praised by a number of industry experts and politicians prior to the vote.

Union strategy praised by experts
Cutting salaries to keep jobs is not a new phenomenon and last November, airline SAS successfully managed to negotiate down salaries by up to 20 percent.

Flemming Ibsen, a labour market expert with the University of Aalborg, told Jyllands-Posten newspaper that the strategy could be replicated by other industries suffering from high wages and low productivity, such as tourism and hospitality.

The business and growth minister, Henrik Sass Larsen (Socialdemokraterne), also said the strategy could serve as inspiration for businesses faced with making staff cuts to remain competitive.