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In a statement, NZMWU national secretary Daryl Carran said the rate increase was an important step in addressing misconceptions of meat processing as a low-paid occupation, and in placing a higher value on starting level roles in the industry.
‘‘Recruitment and staff retention have become issues of critical importance across the primary sector and competing industries with simpler systems of pay can appear on face value to be more attractive.
‘‘The reality though is that great training and progression opportunities do exist in processing plants.
‘‘Workers can grow their skills and in time earn higher amounts, which is important as young people want to buy a house for their family,’’ he said.
Mr Carran said the meat workers union and Silver Fern Farms had been working together to develop options for addressing skills shortages in the sector.