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Cargill Canadian beef plant workers accept contract offer, avert strike

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Dec 4 (Reuters) - Workers at Cargill's beef-processing plant in High River, Alberta, one of Canada's largest, voted in favor of the company's latest contract offer on Saturday, averting a strike.

The plant processes up to 4,500 head of cattle per day, or 35% of Canada's beef-processing capacity.

Workers voted 71% to accept Cargill's offer, according to a union statement

United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW) Local 401 had recommended workers accept the offer, and called it "the best food processing contract in Canada."

The deal includes new procedures to ensure worker health and safety, new benefits, new rights for sick employees, and "more money", UFCW said in a statement.

UFCW had issued a strike notice for Monday, and Cargill also planned to lock them out.

COVID-19 hit the High River plant hard in 2020, sickening more than 900 workers. The outbreak, which forced Cargill to temporarily close the plant, is linked to three deaths.

Outbreaks have also hit other North American meat plants, where employees often work in close quarters. (Reporting by Rod Nickel in Winnipeg and Steve Scherer in Ottawa; editing by Jonathan Oatis)

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