The Meat Workers Union supports positive initiatives that aim to make the Red Meat sector stronger and grow to its full potential, and with it jobs, pay and conditions, but the workers who actually do the processing need a voice as well , says Graham Cooke, Meat Workers Union National Secretary.
Mr Cooke was responding to the Meat Industry Excellence report, "Pathways to Long-Term Sustainability” launched today, where reform of the sector, including closure of up to 19 plants is proposed.
“Restructuring and consolidation are easy on paper; but workers, families and communities often end up paying the price.
“Our country is littered with closed Freezing Works and the dashed hopes and dreams of rural communities.
“That’s why the Meat Workers Union has launched the Jobs that Count secure work campaign.
“Our members should be part of any conversation about the future of this important export industry.
“The NZ Meat industry can’t survive by lowering wages and conditions, making jobs less secure and relying on contingent labour, as we are seeing in Meat Companies overseas.
“There is already evidence that some key players in NZ believe this is their future, and this must be strongly resisted by all players.
“The government should show leadership by setting up a tripartite structure with industry players, including unions, so we can work together on how to tackle the big challenges that lie ahead in the Red Meat Sector.
“Workers need to make a fair living from one season to the next so everyone does well, including farmers, companies, communities and rural business.
“Jobs that Count is a good place to start” said Graham Cooke.