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Te Aroha plant’s observation of the two-minute silence

Statement clarifying Te Aroha plant’s observation of the two-minute silence

Silver Fern Farms Chief Executive Keith Cooper: In response to the story in today’s New Zealand Herald and other outlets – which takes a critical view of how our Te Aroha Plant observed the two-minute silence on 2 December – I would like to clarify the facts.

In remembrance of the men who lost their lives in the Pike River Mine, Silver Fern Farms encouraged company employees to observe the national two minutes of silence at 2pm on 2 December. With regard to Silver Fern Farms’ Te Aroha plant, on its own initiative, the local branch of the NZ Meat Workers Union approached Silver Fern Farms in support of the memorial silence. The Union decided not to process the missed two animals at the end of day as overtime, as a gesture of solidarity with Silver Fern Farms as an employer and in the spirit of comradeship with the West Coast workers.

By way of background, our people are paid on a per-animal processed basis. The Union, on behalf of our people, decided to process less animals on the day. There was no “pay deduction”, as throughput fluctuates from day to day – and therefore so too does the total amount earned by our people. The two animals not processed one day would be processed the next and thus no income was lost.

Please also note that, subsequent to the fire, we have done everything possible to support our Te Aroha people: paying the team up until Christmas; establishing our own Christmas fund internally, which staff have made voluntary contributions to; providing jobs at other local plants wherever possible; and paying accommodation supplements to assist staff who have relocated.


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