Urgent court date neededon meat industry redundancies
Dunedin South MP
16 June 2014
Urgent court date needed to consider meat industry redundancies: Labour
Lengthy delays in the industrial court could see up to 180 Mosgiel meat workers remain in limbo, with no secure jobs and no confirmation of redundancy, Dunedin South Labour MP Clare Curran says.
“I understand that mediation talks between Silver Farms and the union representing 160-180 meat workers from Mosgiel’s Silverstream meat processing plant have not been successful and that a court date has been sought by the union to hear the case for providing them with redundancies.
However, I understand there is a considerable time lapse before the industrial court can set a date for a hearing and today I am calling for the case to be prioritised.
“It’s outrageous that these workers and their families should have to wait any longer to learn their fate.
“Meanwhile they are being forced onto the dole or into precarious or part time low paid work while the Government continues to turn a blind eye to the rapidly deteriorating state of the meat industry.
“Reliance this season on carcass trade has taken the industry back 10 years or more, with the Silverstream workers less likely to have an oversupply of meat from other plants to start this season.
“Some of the workers from Silverstream’s Silver Fern plant secured work at Balclutha’s Finegand works after the Mosgiel plant was mothballed last November for the season. But lower wages, the distance and cost of travelling means many have found it too expensive to continue at Finegand. Other jobs have ceased to exist.
“The Government has been a bystander in all of this. We’ve already seen meat stuck on Chinese wharves because of paperwork errors. Now we’re seeing a decrease in demand for cut meat.
“We need a long-term perspective to allow the industry to move beyond survival mode and focus on maximising its potential, rather than looking jealously over the fence at dairy.”