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The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry today said it has always acted in good faith in negotiations with the union representing its veterinary staff working in the country’s meatworks.
The veterinarians concerned have called a two day strike for Tuesday and Wednesday next week, and MAF’s General Manager Human Resources, Peter Stipkovits says it was the union which pulled out of a scheduled meeting and then faxed the notice of strike action.
"We’ve been working through the issues with the union representing the veterinarians and we were to meet to finalise a proposal. In addition, we had a draft collective contract ready to present at yesterday’s meeting, but for some unaccountable reason, the union decided not to attend," Mr Stipkovits said.
The vets had been claiming a 12% across the board pay increase, though today in media comment NUPE appear to be seeking 14.5%. "Our analysis shows there is simply no justification for figures of this magnitude.
"We have not been able to put our offer to the vets represented by the union because of the union’s precipitate action, but it offers a reasonable pay increase and addresses some of the structural inequities that exist currently," he said.
"Instead of forcing the closure of the country’s meatworks for two days, the union should be coming back to the table to hear our proposals." Mr Stipkovits said.
For further information:
General Manager Human Resources,
04 474 4190