Labor shortage: Fromagerie CEO St-Albert screams from the heart

Undoubtedly, this scarcity of labor taints the cheese co-op. Indeed, Fromagerie St. Albert has faced all the difficulties in the world to recruit new troops, and it has been doing so for several months.

At least 25 to 40 workers will be required. If we have this pool available, we will hire them all, acknowledges the general manager of the cheese factory, Eric Fontaine.

He does his best to make the company attractive to the workers. First, salaries have been increased and reviewed approximately every six months.

basic salary [pour] Someone starts around $20 an hour. After a few months, [même] A person can earn about $25 an hour, depending on the [de ses] responsibilities. […] Despite this, it is still difficult for us to find workAdds the general manager of the cooperative.

Fromagerie St-Albert’s general manager, Eric Fontaine (right), talks with a staff member

Photo: Radio Canada/Denis Papin

Not to mention the recruitment efforts that increased dramatically in the same period.

For example, two HR employees have been tasked with hiring full-time workers, but nothing helps.

We can make 100 calls and there are two that answer us. Either way, sometimes zero does. It really is an extensive research work, honors Valérie Huppé, Director of Human Resources at Fromagerie St-Albert.

The latter immediately admits that the search for new workers is an ongoing struggle.

[Cette pénurie de main-d’œuvre]This is really something we haven’t seen before. Before, we had positions that were difficult to fill. Now, not all jobs are hard to fill, she completes.

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The result: the cheese cooperative must make difficult choices that are not without consequences for its growth.

Some customers have to be sacrificed, just like some products. A good example is the making of marbled cheese.

Consumers can go to the grocery store and see that a particular product is no longer available. It’s because we no longer have the ability to do thatEric Fontaine explains.

St. Albert's cheese factory facilities in Eastern Ontario.

Some products have to be sacrificed due to lack of staff.

Photo: Radio Canada/Denis Papin

The labor shortage plaguing businesses in the region undoubtedly appears on the radar screen of Glenary MP Prescott Russell, Frances Drouin.

Currently, efforts are being made on a regional scale to take the bull by the horns.

There is a program within the municipalities that will be established over the next few months, indicates the federal representative with the addition that federal funds will be made available.

In addition, it is increasingly about the automation of the mode of production that remains mainly manual, within the limits of the possible.

We must also not forget about hiring foreign workers, which is a complex process that can take several months.

But once these workers are hired, it is still necessary to find a home for them in an area with a serious housing crisis. In short, there is no easy solution to the problem of labor shortage.

According to Eric Fontaine, companies, as a rule, are still far from seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. We believe this crisis will last long enoughConcludes.

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