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Danish meat producer announces 350 redundancies

Danish Crown, Denmark’s largest producer of meat, is to release 350 employees due to financial challenges, the company said.

Danish meat producer announces 350 redundancies
Danish Crown said it is to let 350 staff go as farmers struggle with production costs. Photo: Redstar/APPR/Ritzau Scanpix

Financial problems suffered by farmers who supply pigs to the company are behind the decision to let staff go, Danish Crown said in a statement on Friday.

Two Danish Crown abattoirs are affected. Around 275 are to lose their jobs at Sæby, while another 75 at a factory in Ringsted are also to be let go. Danish Crown currently employs around 8,000 people in Denmark.

Poor economy in the production side of the business is to blame for the decision, the company said.

“This is a very unpleasant situation. The employees affected by this have produced excellent work. Since autumn 2020 and until a few weeks ago we have almost constantly had more slaughter-ready pigs than we could slaughter,” head of production Per Laursen said in the statement.

“But the situation now looks different and it hurts to see that we now are set to say farewell to around 350 competent staff,” he said.

High energy prices are a factor in the financial struggles that have led to the redundancies, as are increasing costs of feed. These have caused many farmers to scale back or stop production of pigs for meat production.

Statistics Denmark figures show that the number of pigs in Denmark fell by almost one million during the last year. 13.4 million pigs – more than double the number of people – lived in Denmark in January 2021 according to the agency’s records.

Data from industry organisation Danish Agriculture & Food Council (Landbrug & Fødevarer)

Show additional energy costs for the sector of 20 million kroner compared to 2021, financial media Finans reported on Thursday.

Danish Crown said it will invite released staff to interviews to discuss future options. The company is obliged to launch a social plan when firing large numbers of staff under the terms of its agreement with trade unions.

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FARMING

Danish agricultural sector softens stance on emissions tax 

After years of firm opposition to any carbon tax on agriculture, the Danish Agriculture & Food Council (Landbrug & Fødevarer) interest organisation is changing tact on a likely tax on CO2 emissions in the sector.

Danish agricultural sector softens stance on emissions tax 

The organisation is to shift strategy from strongly opposing the tax to participating “constructively within negotiations” on a green agricultural tax reform, newspaper Berlingske reports. 

Despite the organisation’s change in stance, its chairperson Søren Søndergaard said he still maintains that taxing agriculture based on CO2 emissions is not sensible climate politics.

“But there has now been an election and there are [ongoing] negotiations to form a government. We can see that the parties that are close to the negotiations all want a CO2 tax on agriculture,” he told Berlingske.

The Danish Agriculture & Food Council (DAFC) therefore wants a seat at the table when the rules –which it accepts are coming — are set.

It has proposed five principles for reform. According to Berlingske, the principles strongly resemble the organisation’s longstanding arguments against a CO2 tax.

READ ALSO: Denmark proposes uniform CO2 tax for most businesses

Among its principles, DAFC wants to retain the 2021 reduction targets at 5 million tonnes of CO2 per year by 2030. Politicians are considered likely to push for a more ambitious schedule.

Other items on the organisation’s wishlist are measures to protect competitiveness and relocation of jobs; and a promise that funds collected from a CO2 tax will be reinvested in the food industry. It also wants incentives for farmers and companies.

The Liberal (Venstre) party, which could be part of a future government, was previously against the CO2 tax but has also changed its position.

“You can argue against a tax but you will not win,” Liberal leader Jakob Ellemann-Jensen told Danish Agriculture & Food Council representative earlier this month.

“It will happen, because there is a majority behind it,” he said. 

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