(GOVT. PRESS SECRETARIAT); New Zealand’s biggest meat processor, Silver Fern Farms has kept its side of the bargain by increasing the number of Samoan RSE workers.
By the first week of November, 100 new Samoa RSE workers should be employed in the four Silver Fern Meat Processing operations in New Zealand including 40 in their new Pacific Plant.
Already 135 Samoan RSE workers are on the Sliver Fern’s payroll.
And the company has committed to hire total contingent of 250 Samoans to work for 10 months with them and it’s just rewards for government and the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Labour, (MCIL) the implementing agency for the Seasonal Workers incentives for New Zealand and Australia.
At a pre-departure meeting today, the 100 new intakes were not spared by MCIL’s Chief Executive Pulotu Lyndon Chu Ling and Samoa’s New Zealand based RSE Liaison Officer Lemalu Nele Leilua.
“You carry the hopes of your wives, children, parents, family, your people and your government,” urged Pulotu. “Do not waste this once in a lifetime opportunity by falling into temptation.
“Stay away from alcohol because it has been proven time and again as the cause of misery and termination of your contracts.
“Your performance also carry the hopes of your government for more opportunities from Silver Ferns.
“Ruin it and you, your family and your village will face the consequences.”
(MCIL’s Chief Executive Pulotu Lyndon Chu Ling (right) addressing the Samoa RSE Workers.)
On the ground, the New Zealand based RSE Liaison Officer Lemalu will not be taking no nonsense.
“You are not going to New Zealand to look for permanent residency by forgetting your matrimonial vows. And don’t think that you will get away with it under my watch,” warns Lemalu. “Infidelity has led to many past workers fall from the RSE program and has left nothing but misery and embarrassment for their families and our government.”
“ I will be more than just your Liaison Officer because I will make sure that there will be no misbehaving and no hanky panky because your are more than bread winners for your families but flag carriers for our country and our government.”
She encouraged the workers to always seek help when they have issues or questions as this is the fastest way to resolve any uncompromising situations which may arise during their temporary employments.
Unlike the rest of Samoa workers recruited under the New Zealand RSE seasonal employment format in the horticulture and viticulture industries, the meat processing and packing business is all year round with staff including the Samoans getting at least two weeks in down time to return home visit families and then back to work subject to being rehired.
And the financial rewards are very handsome compared to local standards.
Silver Fern Farms workers are paid a beginning minimum wage of close NZ$20 an hour which is above New Zealand’s minimum wage of NZ$15.25. But that is just the basic wages not including a bonus component.
Not new to the public eye, is the ultimate goal endorsed by Prime Minister Tuilaepa Lupesoliai Sailele Malielegaoi and Cabinet for more RSE employment opportunities for Samoans because it is providing jobs for our workers who often lack income-generating work.
And we all know that the earnings from our RSE workers are supporting families, help pay for education and health, and sometimes provide capital for those wanting to start a small business.
For Silver Ferns Farm to hire more and more Samoans is an inspiration to government.
And government is more than receptive to accommodate RSE Employers to ensure that their human resources needs are met.
Silver Fern is the biggest meat processing company in New Zealand. With 22 farms their meat processing lines include lamb, beef, venison and goat.
Just how big is it?
Silver Fern Farms Limited is a New Zealand multinational meat co-operative owned by 16,000 New Zealand sheep, cattle and deer farmers.
The company is New Zealand’s largest livestock processing and marketing company.
It has investments in manufacturing, meat processing, and transport of livestock, export logistics and meat marketing.