Fonterra takes on 18 extra staff at Edendale

Fonterra’s Edendale manufacturing site. Photo: Supplied
Fonterra’s Edendale manufacturing site. Photo: Supplied
Fonterra’s Edendale site has taken on more seasonal workers as insurance against staffing shortages due to illness.

Eighteen workers have joined the more than 630 employees already on site.

Southern operations general manager Richard Gray said with the peak of the season almost upon the company the extra workers would ensure milk could be processed.

"That’s to give us a bit of resilience if we were to have a number of staff away from work due to illness or being asked to isolate away from site," Mr Gray said.

The factory processed 350,000 tonnes of milk products each year.

Milk from 1000 farms in Otago and Southland was collected by 220 tanker drivers.

Employing more staff was one of many measures the company had implemented to safeguard its business.

" Milk’s a highly perishable product.

"We’ve got such a short window to collect it, process it and get it into its final packaging.

"We can’t afford to have the process disrupted due to the lack of staff."

It was good news for the community.

"That’s a number of people that have managed to pick up some additional work.

"While it is relatively short term because of the seasonal nature, it still provides a little bit of an upside from an employment point of view when there’s unfortunately a lot of people who have had their work reduced or lost their jobs."

During the March lockdown, strict procedures were put in place so the plant could continue operating as an essential business.

"Coming into this season we have kept a number of those controls in place and then stepped up a little bit again with Auckland going into [Alert] Level 3 and the rest of the country in Level 2."

These included temperature testing of site visitors and basics such as hand sanitising, use of personal protection equipment and making sure workers were well spaced.

"We’ve very much minimised any unnecessary people coming on to site and into our processing factories."

Sandy Eggleston

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