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Farmers Can't Afford Gold Plated Government Vets

30 January 2001-01-30 PR 8/01

Farmers Can't Afford Gold Plated Government Vets

Federated Farmers NZ Meat and Fibre Producers Chairman Chris Lester has says that the demands of Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry Verification Authority veterinarians are unreasonable.

"The vet's demands are totally unjustifiable - their demands will effectively result in a 20% increase for some veterinary workers."

MAF Verification Agency veterinarians have given notice of industrial action in support of a 12% salary increase, together with substantial increases in allowances, shift rates and additional benefits, such as fully paid lunch hours. Industrial strike action will span the period between 3 February to 6 March 2001.

"The truth of the matter is that MAF vets are already paid 25 to 35 % above comparable veterinary positions in the private sector. The average take-home pay for a MAF vet is already more that $80,000 a year. Fifteen percent earn more that $100,000 per year."

"Allowances mean that many vets are already able to work a four day week, less than the average of forty hours per week, and still receive over time."

"These MAF VA vets need to adopt a common-sense approach. At the end of the day MAF and the meat processing companies won't be paying - any increase will come out of farmers' pockets and we can't afford to pay for gold plated government vets," Mr Lester concluded.

ENDS For further information:Tony St. Clair025-837-712 Maxine Yule 04-473-7269 Chris Lester 025-978-424.

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