Sixty short-term jobs are expected when Silverstream
reopens next month for processing bobby calves.
However, the New Zealand Meat Workers' Union said the
short-term work would provide little comfort to those left
out of work when Silver Fern Farms chose not to open the
Mosgiel processing plant for the lamb cut season late last
Following the decision not to open, about 70 of the 160 to
180 meatworkers employed at the plant took up an offer of
work at Silver Fern Farms' Finegand works near Balclutha,
leaving the rest facing an uncertain future. Silver Fern
Farms chief executive Keith Cooper confirmed yesterday it was
planning to reopen the Mosgiel meatworks early next month.
''We have 60 roles for the four- to six-week bobby season.
Recruitment is still in swing and we have no final figures on
[numbers of] applicants,'' he said.
Silverstream workers who were ''available and who meet the
criteria for the type of work involved'' would be the first
selected for the bobby calf processing work.
The meatworks reopening comes as a dispute between Silver
Fern Farms and the meat workers' union over redundancies
''We have made it clear that if existing staff are unable to
take up the work on calves, they will in no way jeopardise
their employment status or seniority,'' Mr Cooper said.
NZMW Otago Southland branch president Daryl Carran said it
was important to put the new work into perspective. When
surplus bobby calves were processed at the plant two years
ago it only took 11 days.
''It's a very, very short period of time and then followed by
The union was still pursuing redundancies for workers who did
not receive them when the plant failed to open late last
year, and was taking its fight to court.
''We don't accept that they can ... park workers and their
families up for a year without [letting them know] where they
Mr Cooper could not comment on the chances of Silverstream
reopening for good or whether bobby calves would be processed
there in future.
''These are decisions which are based on supply and market
demands which can vary season to season. We are waiting on
forecasts for next season prior to making decisions around
the plant's role for next season.''