Last week, AFFCO locked out 762 workers indefinitely after talks between AFFCO and the NZ Meat Workers Union broke down. The 762 workers are said to represent 70 percent of the meat workers across Moerewa, Horotiu, Imlay, Wairoa and Manawatu plants.
This article aims to provide context in terms of what this means for total employment in the meat processing industry and the districts that are most likely to be impacted most by this announcement.
At a national level there are 23,200 people employed in meat processing, 2,790 (12 percent) of which are employed in the five regions affected by the lock out. Despite the districts only representing 12 percent of New Zealand’s total meat processing employment, 27 percent (762 employees) across these five districts are directly affected by this lock out.
Meat processing employment in the five affected districts
Out of the five districts affected, the Whanganui District employs the largest amount of meat workers (30 percent) followed by Wairoa (25 percent). Depending on how the union members are distributed across the five regions, the districts that could be most heavily affected are Whanganui and Wairoa. The meat processing industry’s contribution to GDP in the Whanganui and Wairoa districts are also the largest of the five, as shown in the figure below.
Value of meat processing in the five districts affected
In these five districts, meat processing added a combined value in terms of annual GDP of $304.5 million.
Although there appears to be a relatively small amount of people directly affected nationally, the impact is potentially of significant size for each of the districts affected.