Sealord staff summoned to 'positive' chat

October 4, 2010 14:07

There won't be any bad news delivered to Sealord staff during a meeting on 4, October, 2010, the company's chief executive promises, reports with reference to The Nelson Mail.

About 450 staff who work for the company will be bused to the Trafalgar Centre this afternoon for an hour-long "positive" meeting, said Sealord chief executive Graham Stuart.

The meeting had nothing to do with mediation over the collective agreement for Sealord's Vickerman St fish-processing plant which continues on Wednesday.

"We are just going to have a bit of a re-cap on how we have done in the hoki season and talk about a way forward. It's just an opportunity to get them all together and have a bit of a chat."

Mr Stuart said there had been a number of changes with salaried staff and the company wanted to "put that in perspective" for workers.

"There's no bad news in this. There's no closures, no redundancies - nothing like that." He said the hoki season was better than hoped for and the fishery was in good shape.

"That advantage flowed through the factory really, so it was a good season."

Mr Stuart said it was frustrating the collective agreement remained unresolved.

"I think staff probably want to get a bit more money in their pocket and we would probably like to get a wee bit of closure on it (the agreement) but on a day-to-day basis it's not really affecting anything."Life's going on and we had a good hoki season."

He said the company offered staff a 2.5 per cent increase last December through the union but it turned the offer down.

Mr Stuart said the current economic climate meant the company "did not see a need" to offer more than that amount.

The company did not want to have aggressive tactics and close the plant, but wanted to get on with things. The negotiations follow a restructuring of the company which wants to trim about $1.8 million a year from employees' terms and conditions in order to secure the future of the processing plant.

Service and Food Workers Union national assistant secretary Neville Donaldson said the 300 staff involved in the negotiations wanted the ability to continue on and be productive but to earn a wage that allowed them to pay their bills.

"At the end of a day a job's no good to you if you can't survive off the income.

"The bottom line is that they are not wealthy people, their wages are at a level where they can sustain a standard of living but they cannot sustain a reduction in their income."

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