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Avoid Export Damage From Industrial Apartheid

Thursday 22 January 2004
MEDIA RELEASE
ATTENTION:
RURAL/INDUSTRIAL/POLITICAL REPORTER

Avoid Export Damage From Industrial Apartheid - Govt

''NUPE wrote to the Minister of Agriculture on 13 January warning of potential damage to the export meat industry from the industrial apartheid dispute and asking him to step in to avoid such damage occurring,'' said John Kerr, Organiser of the National Union of Public Employees (NUPE) who represent a group of 30 Meat Inspectors across the country. Meat Inspectors are employed by ASURE, a State Owned Enterprise set up in 1998 from the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries (MAF) to run the service demanded by overseas countries who we export meat to. “Our Union has not yet received a reply from the Minister.”

“Meat Inspectors will begin a campaign from next Monday to get rid of what they term ‘industrial apartheid’. This campaign will publicise the issues surrounding the alleged discrimination. Meat Inspectors are very conscious that the perceived integrity of meat inspection services is a matter affecting not only New Zealand consumers but also overseas export markets," said John Kerr.

“NUPE has informed the Minister that the integrity of Meat Inspectors could be placed under threat in a situation where they may disagree with something that ASURE is doing and be faced with a loss of pay if they raise their opposition.”

“Given that questions about the integrity of meat inspection can directly lead to loss of overseas markets our members wanted to give the Minister the opportunity to fix it before a public dispute begins,” said John Kerr. “We have asked for an urgent meeting with the Minister to discuss the issue before the public campaign begins. The Government is the owner of ASURE as a State Owned Enterprise and can fix the discrimination issue before it goes public.”

ENDS

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