Jobs at risk at Silver Fern Farms

Jobs at risk at Silver Fern Farms

Silver Fern Farms have announced a proposal to close at least two meat processing plants across the country, despite saying sales to China wouldn't result in plant closures.

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A mutton processing plant in Wairoa and a venison plant in Mossburn are the two sites proposed for closure which will go under consultation before a decision is made.

Chief Executive Dean Hamilton says the ever changing farming sector is the reason behind the proposition. 

"With changing livestock flows, there is the opportunity for the company to become more efficient and offer our farmer suppliers improved service by operating fewer plants for longer during a season," he says.

"Both plants operate in regions where we have other plants which can manage the combined levels of livestock processing in the region."

Meat Workers Union National Secretary Graham Cooke says the plans were a surprise to the union.

"We weren't aware that the company had made a decision until very late last week [and] they've obviously decided they don't need these two plants," he says.

"It is a bit of a shock but a bigger shock to the communities."

Mr Cooke says he hopes this closure is isolated.

"I would be hopeful that it is isolated, there is talk Finegand and Waitane may close in the future.

"I've asked the company whether that is going to happen this season and we've been told categorically it is not going to happen this season."

More than 100 employees could be affected by the closures but have been offered jobs at other Silver Fern Farm plants across the country including Watine, Kennington, Finegard, Takapau and Central Hawke's Bay.

This proposal comes just months after Silver Fern Farms closed their Christchurch based cold store and venison processing plant.