Tyson Foods Inc. said it would temporarily cut operations at four beef plants and scale back production at another because of tight cattle supplies, low demand and a reduction in the number of its overseas markets.

The reduction, expected to last three to five weeks, affects about 2,100 workers, who are being asked to take one week of paid vacation. Tyson said it would give workers the equivalent of a 32-hour work week over the next three weeks. Other benefits, including health insurance, will continue.

Managers, their support teams and maintenance workers will remain on the job, the company said.

Production will be suspended at Denison, Iowa; Norfolk and West Point, Neb.; and Boise, Idaho. Second-shift processing at a plant in Pasco, Wash., will also be temporarily halted. The suspensions take effect Monday. The plants process up to a combined 30,000 head per week.

"This is a difficult decision, however, we believe it's the right thing for us to do at this time, especially given the challenging market conditions and unfavorable operating margins our beef business continues to face," John Tyson, chairman and chief executive of Tyson Foods, said in a statement.

The number of workers affected at each plant include 275 at Denison, 900 at Norfolk, 275 at West Point, 250 at Boise and 400 at Pasco, the company said.

Source: Yahoo News