[8 June/Stuff]

Shearers are seeking a 25 percent pay rise in anticipation of another crisis. More shearers are having to travel to Australia to make a good living, and the workforce is steadily aging. The New Zealand Shearers Contractors Association recommended workers’ pay and entitlements are improved by up to 25 percent. Federated Farmers Meat and Wool Chairman, Miles Anderson, said he had sympathy for the shearers’ claims, even if they would come at a cost to farmers. Shearers could earn more in Australia because the bulk of the wool clip was more lucrative merino. Mr Anderson added that many farmers were making little if anything from wool, and often shearing came at a cost. NZSCA President, Mark Barrowcliffe, noted the recommendation came after looking at issues facing shearing, including lifting recruitment and retention rates, improving trading opportunities, and leading new standards in health and safety. Mr Anderson said Federated Farmers was working on a generic approach to promoting wool.