Plans for all-year round processing should safeguard jobs at Silver Fern Farms’ Finegand freezing works in Balclutha and Waitane near Gore.
SFF chief executive Keith Cooper said:
“This is a high-level strategic view to keep costs down, utilise plants better and attract employees by getting away from seasonal work to become a longer-term employer.”
Multi-species plants which operate all year round make sense because of ever-increasing compliance and maintenance costs, and difficulty sourcing seasonal labour.
There will be economic and social gains for the community too because fulltime employment brings more regular and secure income than seasonal jobs which can leave large numbers of people with low incomes and little work in the off-season.
A judge I interviewed for an alcohol awareness week years ago told me he thought there was a relationship between freezing works and alcohol problems because there were a lot of people on high incomes during the killing season but low incomes and too much free time in the off-season.