Friday, 15 February 2013, 10:35 am
Press Release: First Union
Better health and safety and job security would help in attracting workers to primary industries, FIRST Union said today.
Rabobank this week released its Agriculture in Focus 2013 report, and a Rabobank analyst told media yesterday that finding and attracting the next generation of New Zealanders to agriculture must be a top priority for the sector.
FIRST Union represents workers in the wood and textiles industries, and workers in related distribution sectors such as drivers, and its general secretary Robert Reid said that workers in rural New Zealand were regularly employed in insecure jobs.
“Any workforce planning for our primary industries needs to consider all workers, not just the farm or business owner,” he said.
“Many land based workers are in short term contracts and casual work with very low pay and it’s no wonder then that attracting a skilled workforce remains a challenge.”
Robert Reid said that regrettably many land based industries were high risk ones, and forestry was an industry where significant health and safety concerns existed, including the often undocumented issues surrounding fatigue.
“New Zealanders work among the longest hours in the world. Fatigue is the silent killer and maimer of workers across many industries, and it is certainly a concern in forestry with its unacceptably high injury and fatality rate.”
FIRST Union has begun discussions with forest industry groups about improving health and safety at work.
The National Distribution Union and Finsec joined forces in October 2011 to form New Zealand’s newest union – FIRST. The union represents 27,000 people working in Finance, Industrial (Textile and Wood) Retail, Stores & Transport. http://firstunion.org.nz