25 Nov 2013

Meat company trims staff at Silverstream

6:32 am on 25 November 2013

The Silver Fern Farms meat co-operative is going ahead with merging the management of two of its processing plants in Otago.

Silverstream meatplant near Mosgiel.

Photo: RNZ

The Silverstream plant near Dunedin will be run from the larger Finegand plant in South Otago.

Silverstream operates as an overflow lamb cutting facility. But the company doesn't know if it will need the plant for that this season, because of a drop in lamb numbers and a lower export demand for further processed lamb.

As a consequence, it's reducing the 15 management, administrative and engineering staff at Silverstream to six.

Most of the workforce of 180 there are meatworkers employed seasonally for lamb-cutting.

Sheepmeats and venison operations manager Wayne Shaw says there's no decision yet on a start-up date for them.

He says some more seasonal workers are being taken on at Finegand and priority will be given to Silverstream staff until that facility commences cutting.

Mr Shaw says at this stage about 70 staff from Silverstream have taken up the offer and more are in discussion.

He says Silverstream also processes venison by-products and has a rendering plant and those are continuing, as normal.

Silver Fern Farms has also merged the management of two North Island beef plants, Waitoa and Te Aroha in Waikato, cutting staff by 17.