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Union Uses Vets' Strike To Help Recruit

The imminent MAF veterinarians' strike is another example of the consequences of the Labour-Alliance Employment Relations Act - a union flexing its muscle without any regard for the resulting damage, National's Industrial Relations spokesperson Dr Lockwood Smith said today

For years the meat industry has been free of major industrial action. It's no coincidence that the MAF vets will walk off the job this Friday. Since its inception, the Employment Relations Act has raised huge wage expectations.

"The union representing most of the 120 vets is tactically using this wage dispute to try and display some strength. It's outrageous that the vets' union, NUPE, is using this dispute as part of its recruitment drive as it competes against the PSA.

"This union's publicity stunt will have devastating consequences. The meat industry will be brought to its knees at the peak pre-Easter processing season, with 20,000 meat industry employees forced out of work during the strike.

"What's more, the long-term credibility and stability of our whole meat industry is put at serious risk. This strike will have major consequences for our country as an exporter of primary products.

"MAF has offered the vets significant pay increases. Let's not forget that these vets earn between $75,000 and $120,000. While they earn every cent they get in less than comfortable work places, MAF vets get paid 30% more than their colleagues in private practice.

"This strike is about so much more than bigger salaries for 120 vets. This strike is about irresponsible unionism nurtured under the Employment Relations Act," Dr Smith said.


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