22 October 2016
Some meat sellers work 12 hours a day with no paid leave. Photo: Bloomberg
Some meat sellers work 12 hours a day with no paid leave. Photo: Bloomberg

Meat sellers retitled with better pay in new training programs

Meat sellers should properly be called “meat-cutting technicians”, the Pork Traders General Association of Hong Kong and the Sheung Shui Slaughterhouse said.

The renaming is an attempt to attract more people to join the industry, Ming Pao Daily reported Monday.

Both organizations have been working with the Employees Retraining Board to roll out meat-cutting and slaughterhouse training programs for up to 40 newcomers.

The recruits will undergo 120 hours of basic training, which will be followed by further training on the job.

The new programs are expected to be launched in the first half of the 2016/2017 financial year.

Association convener Hui Wai-kin said the industry is short of 500 people now, and many practitioners are already over 60 years old.

A manpower gap could open up if the industry fails to recruit new blood.

Hui was keen to have the job of meat seller upgraded to meat-cutting technician as a boost to the image of the profession.

Legislator Wong Kwok-hing, from the Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions, and industry representatives met Secretary for Labor and Welfare Matthew Cheung Kin-chung in May last year to discuss the launch of the training programs, which cover skills in dissecting a pig and food safety issues.

Hui said that on upon completing the courses, trainees will undergo three months of on-the-job training at a monthly salary of between HK$13,000 (US$1,668) and HK$14,000.

The salary could be raised to between HK$16,000 and HK$20,000 once they are officially employed at meat stalls or the Sheung Shui Slaughterhouse, operated by Ng Fung Hong Ltd.

Cheung Hiu-yan, personnel manager at the slaughterhouse, said many of its employees are already over 50 years old.

She said she hoped the new training courses could attract young people to join the industry.

The slaughterhouse is offering a three-month probation period for trainees under the new program, with a monthly salary of HK$12,900 plus attendance bonus.

Ah Sun, who has been working as a meat seller in Central, said he has to work 12 hours a day, with only a 60-minute break, at HK$600 a day with no paid leave.

He said the keys to luring recruits are shortening the work hours and introducing paid leave.

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