24 Mar 2015

Dairy sector to lift standards

6:42 am on 24 March 2015

The dairy industry's water accord, aimed at lifting environmental standards on farms, is to be joined by an employment accord.

dairy cow

Photo: 123rf

Industry body Dairy NZ says the Quality Workplace Accord to be launched in May aims to improve work environments on dairy farms.

The dairy industry has come under the spotlight in recent years for poor employment standards and record keeping.

Dairy NZ's strategy and investment leader for people and business, Mark Paine, said there was quite a bit of variation in employment practices in the industry and criticism had played a part in developing the accord.

But he said many farmers had sound practices and it was about lifting the standards across the whole dairy farming sector.

"One area is around having a balanced and productive work time, so that's ensuring that we're operating with teams of people with the right skill sets operating within realistic work loads and time frames.

"There's another commitment around fair remuneration and there's a third one around the whole well being health and safety, so that includes things like stress and mental health too.

"The fourth one's around team building so it's having a positive team culture operating in the work place and finally there's an area around careers."

Mr Paine said a number of organisations were involved in the workplace accord, including Federated Farmers, Dairy Women's Network, Young Farmers and the Dairy Companies Association.