17 Dec 2014

Meatworker jobs shaky - union

8:54 pm on 17 December 2014

The union representing workers in the meat industry has launched a campaign to highlight job insecurity in the sector.

The Meat Workers Union national secretary, Graham Cooke, said the campaign, launched in Palmerston North, calls for meat workers to have certainty about their pay, hours and jobs from one season to the next.

Campaign organiser Darien Fenton said the country's more than 20,000 meat workers played a critical part in the meat export industry, but their lack of job security was causing some to struggle.

"There's been a lot of talk about zero hours, well they have zero hours contracts. A lot of people who have been employed for a long time, in some cases 20 - 30 years, are being re-employed on casual contracts. So there's no security there and of course it's a very tough and dangerous industry.

"Health and safety is a an issue in some plants. Some companies put a lot of effort into health and safety but we're also hearing some pretty awful stories about accidents that shouldn't be happening in the meat industry."

Mr Fenton said a national roadshow next year would speak to workers and employers in the meat sector.

Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs