1 Jul 2010

Meatworkers against changes to work breaks

6:50 pm on 1 July 2010

A meatworkers' union has spoken out against potential changes to rest and meal-break rules, saying regular breaks are needed from demanding and dangerous work.

On Thursday, Parliament's Transport and Industrial Select Committee heard submissions on a bill aimed at making the rules more flexible.

Proposed measures include compensation for breaks not taken, such as later starts or earlier finish times, or time off in lieu.

The Employers and Manufacturers Association's northern branch supports that idea, saying the legislated breaks are sometimes not required and that some workplaces make up their own rules.

The branch's advisory services manager, David Lowe, says rules for breaks should not be as prescriptive as they are now.

But Dave Eastlake of the Meat Workers and Related Trades' Union says regular breaks are needed from the hard, high-pressured, dangerous, dirty, noisy and smelly work in meatworks.