New Zealand meat workers are horrified by the National Party’s meanspirited and backwards proposal to remove breaks, including lunch breaks.
“Working people have fought long and hard for fair breaks and welcomed the return to scheduled breaks under Labour’s amendments to the Employment Relations Act. National’s proposal to take smoko and lunchtime away from people is absurd and out of touch.
“Our members have fought and won in the courts for fair payment for breaks including a vital decision that putting on and removing PPE gear (donning and doffing) is part of paid time,” says Daryl Carran, MWU National Secretary.
“We’re shocked that these tired old arguments have made a comeback in National.”
Meat workers have been at the forefront of the successful management of meatworks in the world during the COVID crisis, with fewer than a handful of covid cases.
This has required active engagement with the meat industry and the MPI around protocols, the wearing, and safe removal of PPE gear, social distancing and recognising that scheduled breaks are the best way to manage risks and fatigue.
“We cannot understand why the National Party, supposedly the party for agriculture has not even bothered to acquaint themselves with this.
“Needless to say, the message from the National Party with their retrograde policy is a strong message for every meat worker in New Zealand that will be reflected at the ballot box.”