Thousands due at pay ratification meetings

Thousands of meatworkers at Silver Fern Farms' mainly South Island processing plants are expected to attend pay ratification meetings on Monday.

The New Zealand Meatworkers and Related Trades Union has been in talks with the company for almost a month.

It is understood the union began negotiating with an initial two-year 3% plus 3% claim for a pay increase, with SFF offering 0% this year and 2% next year.

Staff meetings will be held at venues including Belfast near Christchurch, Fairton at Ashburton, Pareora near Timaru, Waitane near Gore, Finegand near Balclutha and Dargaville.

Union members were expected to be balloted on Monday, which could include taking ''limited strike action'', one source, who asked not to be identified, said.

SFF chief executive Keith Cooper was not available for comment.

Meatworkers union national secretary Graham Cooke said from Melbourne negotiations remained ''amicable''.

He denied talks had broken down.


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