Meat workers face tough choice
Fri, 28 Sep 2012 6:38p.m.
By Krissy Moreau
More than 300 staff at a Southland meat processing plant have been told they're out of work if they can't transfer.
The meat workers in Mataura gathered at their local community centre today to be told officially the news that’s been rumoured all week.
Farmer-owned co-operative Alliance Group, which operates eight processing plants around the country, is moving its sheep processing chain in Mataura 50 kilometres down the road to Lorneville.
Alliance Group CEO Grant Cuff says the decision comes after declining sheep numbers.
“We've seen a 20 percent decline in lamb and sheep numbers in the southern region in the last five years,” he says.
The move means a one-hour-and-20-minute return trip for 325 of these workers, and some say that’s too far to travel.
Others, including Gary Davis of the Otago Southland Meat Workers’ Union, are concerned the work won't have the same earning potential
“That will be on night shift, it will be the last chain that will be starting and the first chain that will finish,” he says.
The Alliance Group says the merger of its two plants will benefit the workers.
“By combining the two plants we expect the average seasonal earnings for all of the people to improve,” says Mr Cuff.
The potential blow to the Mataura economy will be softened by the local plant’s recent $15 million upgrade to its beef operation.
The Alliance Group is giving its staff at Mataura a four week consultation period.
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1/10/2012 11:04:09 a.m.
Labour does have a solution to problems like this.Its basic economics that our wage levels too high, so if we elect Labour they will lower our dollar and give us inflation so we have much lower wages, and then we will be more competiive and more jobs will be created.Eg our min wage is $13.50 currently, and while making public calls to raise it to $15 Labour policy is all about lowering it down around $10 in real value of today.The US doing the same with Obamam printing money and given the US economy inflation so everyone will get more money, but in real wages, everyone will get less. The US considers its $7.25 min wage too high to compete internationally, and thats so high compared to NZs $13.50! Adjust the US min wage to NZ$ and you find $9 NZ, ie our min wage is 50% higher than the US. Even Labour policy to lower our min wage down arouind $10 NZ would have it higher than the current US min wage, which Obama is reducing as the US not competiive enough at the current rate.
30/09/2012 11:19:02 a.m.
The return trip would only be one hour, The workers could car pool it does seem like a long way to travel but really many people travel this distances for work.
29/09/2012 11:26:35 p.m.
just seems wierd on in the last few months on the mutton slaughterboard that they have been trying their hardest to get the multi million dollar robots fully operatual and for what just to close the place down na i beleive they might be looking at vension as rumours go back along way about it.
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