Hong Kong’ meat industry is urging the government to offer training courses for butchers.
A group of industry representatives met with Secretary for Labor and Welfare Matthew Cheung and officials from the Employees Retraining Board (ERB) to discuss their concern about the shrinking pool of professional market butchers, Ming Pao Daily reported Tuesday.
They said many of the present crop are about to retire, causing a potentially crippling shortage.
Meanwhile, long working hours and lack of opportunities are driving younger people from the profession and discouraging others from going in.
Also, butchers are not getting enough professional recognition, they said.
Hui Wai-kin, chairman of the Hong Kong Pork Traders General Association, said the meat industry faces a shortage of 500 butchers, with daily supply of pigs alone hitting 4,500 from 3,600 in 2007.
Training classes will help widen opportunities for incumbents and attract newcomers, he said.
Cheung agreed with the idea and ERB officials said they will discuss it with the meat industry at large.
Butchers work 10 hours a day and get HK$900 (US$116) to HK$1,000 compared with HK$650 to HK$700 daily pay several years ago.
Legislator Wong Kwok-hing said the meat industry should shift to a monthly pay system to ensure a more stable income for butchers.
He said these professionals should be called by another name to improve their public image.
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