BOW ISLAND, Alta. – The Spitz sunflower seed plant in southeastern Alberta is to close later this year, throwing 53 people out of work.
PepsiCo, the plant’s owner, says production will move to another plant in the U.S.
The company says it will help the employees with financial support, counselling and job placement services.
The plant in Bow Island is about 300 kilometres southeast of Calgary.
Spitz International was founded in 1982 by Dutch immigrants Tom and Emmy Droog.
It eventually became a leading sunflower seed producer and was bought by PepsiCo in 2008.
“We hope you get out there and enjoy all our delicious flavours and taste the Spitz difference for yourself,” the Spitz website said on Friday. “And when you do, think of the folks in Bow Island, who couldn’t be prouder.”
Drew Barnes, the United Conservative Party’s finance critic, pointed the finger at Alberta’s NDP government for the plant closure.
“You look at our ever-increasing electricity rates, you look at our minimum wage changes, you look at our oil and gas people not working in Alberta,” he said.
“They didn’t make their decision only in this vacuum, but I’m sure when I’m talking to the people in Bow Island in the coffee shop tomorrow morning, they’ll be feeling the current NDP government’s a big part of their decision.”
PepsiCo’s statement about the plant closure made no mention of politics or government policies.
The company said it had to make a difficult business decision based on an extensive evaluation of the long-term viability of plant “and its ability to meet our increasing volume requirements for the brand, which will continue to play an important role in our North American portfolio.” (CFFR)