The Meatworkers Union and Silver Fern Farms are at
loggerheads over a status quo pay offer. Pictured,
carcasses at Finegand. Photo by Stephen Jaquiery.
The Meatworkers and Related Trades Union has taken a
swipe at Silver Fern Farms' management getting double-digit pay
rises, while staff are expected to accept no increase.
Pay talks had ground to a halt and the union and Silver Fern
Farms had agreed to mediation, starting today. Ratification
meetings a fortnight ago across several plants saw 97% of
staff reject the status quo offer.
Meatworkers union national secretary Graham Cooke said in the
pay negotiations, Silver Fern was offering its workers no pay
rise in the first year, and only a 2% pay rise in the second.
''This, despite the industry seeing a 22-month high for beef
and lamb and paying their own directors, chairman and chief
executive double-digit pay rises,'' Mr Cooke said.
The bargaining round started several weeks ago, with the
union seeking 3% plus 3% over two years and Silver Fern
offering the status quo and 2%.
Mr Cooke said Silver Fern's directors' fees went up by 15% in
2012 then 7.8% last year, or 22.8% over two years, its
chairman got 15% followed by 8.2%, or 23.2% over two years,
while chief executive Keith Cooper got a 12.5% boost over
three years then 4.3% last year - an annual salary over
Mr Cooke said during the past year, the workers doing all the
actual work Silver Fern Farms relied upon to pay those ''huge
fees'', received only a 2% pay rise.
''The workers helping build the success of Silver Fern Farms
deserve a better offer than a 0% pay rise,'' he said.
Silver Fern Farms' communications manager Justin Courtney was
contacted, and passed on a message from the operations
manager of sheep meats and venison, Wayne Shaw.
''We have agreed to mediation with the union and it would be
inappropriate to discuss details while we are in that stage.
No doubt we will eventually reach a resolution,'' Mr Shaw