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FF Say MAF VA Vets Need To "Get Real"

Federated Farmers Say MAF VA Vets Need To "Get Real"

Federated Farmers NZ Meat and Fibre Producers Chairman Chris Lester is astounded that Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF) Verification Authority (VA) veterinarians have turned down the latest pay offer put on the negotiating table by MAF.

"Why is this offer not good enough for these veterinarians? I really am beginning to think these striking vets want to become platinum-plated government vets, and not just gold-plated," Mr Lester said.

"These striking vets are biting the very hand that feeds them. Their withdrawal of service puts at risk the very industry that employs them. They need to adopt a reasonable approach and get real."

The main elements of the offer put forward to the vets are as follows:
* A one-off payment of $10,000 for each vet;
* An 8% increase in base salary for the top two thirds of vets;
* A 4% increase for the rest;
* The payment of vet association memberships, education costs, medical insurance and medical check-up costs;
* The retention of penal payments for weekend shift work;
* An immediate promotion for about 40 relieving and circuit vets which would see them receive an extra amount on their base salary of between $2000 and $5000 prior to the calculation of the 8% increase.

The offer also included a "safety clause" that meant that no vet doing the same work pattern will earn less as a result of accepting the agreement.

MAF VA vets are already paid 25% to 35% above comparable veterinarian positions in the private sector. The average take home pay of these striking vets is more that $84,000 per year.

"Most farmers work 6 or 7 day weeks with no overtime or holiday pay, and earn considerably less than these vets."

"We acknowledge that some of these vets have not had a pay rise for some time. Farmers are not going to be-grudge a reasonable increase, such as the last offer by MAF. But these vets need to get real - the industry cannot afford platinum plated vets," concluded Mr Lester.


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