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Good news for Silver Fern Farms’ Te Aroha staff

14 December 2010
‘Good news for Silver Fern Farms’ Te Aroha staff as jobs secured’

Silver Fern Farms announced today that the majority of its workforce affected by the recent fire at its Te Aroha plant now have employment and that the company has been able to provide jobs for all Te Aroha staff who were able and willing to relocate.

"The Pacific nightshift is now fully manned, with about 140 Te Aroha staff taking up most of the available positions, and returning Hastings nightshift workers accounting for the remainder” Keith Cooper, Silver Fern Farms’ Chief Executive said today. “Our Te Aroha staff were fully inducted and familiarised with the Pacific plant yesterday and the new shift commences tonight. We envisage this Pacific shift operating for the remainder of the season, until May next year, to ensure continuity of processing capacity for suppliers of livestock to the Te Aroha plant”.

In addition to their wages, staff that opted to take up the offer of work at Silver Fern Farms’ Pacific plant are being paid an accommodation allowance of $300 per week (non-taxable) as a reimbursement for the cost of living away from home.

Another 10 people from Silver Fern Farms’ Te Aroha site have filled existing vacancies at the company’s Hawera and Dargaville plants. Mr Cooper stated that the uptake reflected staff’s commitment and dedication to the company: “We are pleased to have been able to create such a positive opportunity for the majority of our Te Aroha people. Overall, our staff have not hesitated to take up alternative options in the interim, pending the outcome of a review of Te Aroha options."

Mr Cooper understands that a further 80 people have taken up opportunities at nearby processing plants and around 20 have applied for government support at this point.

The company established a Resource Centre in the wake of the fire to provide staff with information on employment and accommodation options. Staff at the centre have been working closely with various organisations in the Hawkes Bay including the council, other local employers and community organisations, to support Te Aroha workers.

“Our Resource Centre staff are following the people that we have yet to hear from to ensure they are being looked after” said Mr Cooper.

Mr Cooper re-confirmed that the additional capacity the company has brought on stream at Silver Fern Farms’ Pacific, Dargaville and Hawera sites will ensure the company can largely absorb livestock that would otherwise have been processed at Te Aroha until future plans could be unveiled.

ENDS

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