Meat the workers whove turned 25
THERE were more meat workers in the room than you could poke a side of beef at. Around 3410 man years of employment with the Northern Co-operative Meat Company ate dinner at the Casino RSM Club on%Saturday night, with 90-odd members of the 25-years-plus club welcoming another 15 to their ranks. Shaun Vidler was one of the 'new boys'. Now a sub-foreman in the rendering department, he joined the company as a 16-year-old in the gutting room in 1982. He attributed his longevity to the enjoyable atmosphere at the meatworks. "I just liked where I was. A great bunch of blokes to work with, that's all," he said. Fellow '25-er' Norm Wilson agreed. Getting a job at 17 through his uncles, the butcher said he will remain with the company 'until the bank manager tells me'. Bill Higgins, will next January celebrate 50 years with the company. Including his days as a child collecting and returning bones from meat meal 'for pocket money', the 65-year-old refrigeration mechanic has been with the meatworks since he was seven. "I lived right alongside the company," he said. "I used to pick up all the bones out of the pigsty, take them back and get some money. "Dad said 'go and speak with the engineer', which I did when I was 15. I started on three months' probation and I'm still here."