COVID-19 – keeping people safe
The New Zealand Government has recognised that food production is an essential service during COVID-19 Alert level 3. This means Alliance Group and other meat processing businesses will remain operating to provide this essential service.
Success for us is keeping people safe, continuing to process farmers’ livestock and prevent potential animal welfare issues, preserving peoples’ jobs, supporting our local communities and New Zealand.
We are operating within a strict set of rules and requirements set by the Government to minimise the risk of COVID-19 transmission .
We know that in the red meat sector and other essential service businesses, some people will be concerned about coming to work when so many others are in lock-down. It is critical for us to look after our people and that’s why following the safety standards set by the Government is so important.
“We are all relying on the dedication and expertise of those workers in essential services and NZ owes them a debt of gratitude. Good employers are doing their bit by keeping operations going, supporting staff, and working on strategies so staff can stay employed.”
Council of Trade Unions (CTU) President Richard Wagstaff
“For us, farmers and meat processing workers are among the country’s unsung heroes. Their commitment and dedication to helping ensure our supermarket chillers are stocked, food can be put on the table and we can continue to export products to our global markets and bring back the very necessary foreign exchange to buy fuel and medicine, should be applauded by all New Zealanders.”
Tim Ritchie, chief executive, Meat Industry Association
How we are keeping our people safe
We are proud of the way our people are stepping up in tough times in the best interests of the country.
As a co-operative, the health and wellbeing of our employees is paramount.
To fight the spread of COVID-19, and to keep employees safe, we have introduced alternative ways of working in our plants including:
- physical distancing: one metre between employees unless we have specific measures in place to protect our people such as Personal Protective Equipment
- further increased cleaning/disinfection of processing areas
- continuing the closure of sites to non-essential personnel
- staggering breaks to avoid large numbers of people in the same place
- implementing new restrictions on transport to/from work
These actions are in line with advice from the Ministry of Health and the Industry Standard developed by the Meat Industry Association (MIA) and the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI).
The New Zealand Meatworkers Union is supportive of our efforts to continue operating the plants at increased safety levels to ensure the retention of jobs and income in our rural communities. We have been working closely together to make the new arrangements work.
How we are supporting our farmers
We have re-configured our sites and processes once more so we can increase capacity under the Alert Level 3 protocol agreed between the Ministry for Primary Industries and the Meat Industry Association.
Our team has also been designing ways to lift our processing capacity further.
We are, as always, prioritising livestock from loyal shareholders. The co-operative is also prioritising those farmers facing animal welfare issues on farm.
We are encouraging farmers to self-draft, where practical. If an Alliance representative has to visit the farm, the farmer will be contacted before they arrive to discuss a plan for safe drafting while observing physical distancing
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