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My Job at SATS: I’ve spent 47 years working at a meat processing plant in Singapore

My Job at SATS: I’ve spent 47 years working at a meat processing plant in Singapore

Stepping inside the premises of Primary Industries Pte Ltd to visit a pig abattoir for the first time, we had no idea what to expect. As we wait for the required clearances, we noticed a man dressed in an all-white ensemble, enjoying his breakfast and a hot kopi. He is Maruthverran Suppiah, Chief Supervisor at the abattoir.

Introducing himself as Verran, as how everyone at Primary Industries knows him, he proceeded to tell us about his role at one of the primary meat processing plants in Singapore.

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Maruthverran Suppiah, Chief Supervisor, Primary Industries Pte Ltd

Processing meat since ‘76

Verran has been with Primary Industries for 47 years now, having experienced the transitions abattoir operations in Singapore underwent in the past decades.

He started as an abattoir production operator together with a few friends who just wanted to “explore” the job. Four decades and dozens of new friends later, Verran is as fascinated as he was with the abattoir.

Now a Chief Supervisor who oversees the smooth operation of the slaughterhouse, Verran remains dedicated to his work, even lending a hand on the production line when needed. “If I see a tired production operator, I ask them to take a break, and I’ll cover for them,” he explains. He is just grateful for the support of his colleagues and superiors, strengthening his long-standing commitment to his job at Primary Industries.

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Verran and Kerry Mok, President and CEO at SATS Ltd, during a Chinese New Year event

Challenges with working in an abattoir

Admittedly, working in a meat processing plant is not much of a popular option for many, not to mention the distinct smells and noises associated with it. Verran, however, does not shy away from the challenges of the job and the industry. He even takes immense pride in his role.

Reflecting on his impressive 47-year tenure, Verran proudly declares, “Through my work here, I have been able to support my family, send my kids to school, and even own a five-bedroom flat.”

The initial adjustment period can be tough, Verran admits. But after a couple of weeks on the job, you’ll be surprised to find Primary Industries a great place to work at, he adds. Over the years, this belief still holds true for Verran. When asked about his secret to longevity in the industry, Verran has this to say: “You must take your job seriously.” 

More than just meat-cutting

The abattoir operates daily, with each section having its separate rest days and working hours. Primary Industries handles the meat processing line from the time the pigs arrive in Singapore to when the meats are packed for various consumers.

Divided into different sections, each manned by abattoir production operators, Primary Industries ensures stringent safety, hygiene, and quality standards set by the Singapore Food Agency are met.

Not only are workers required to undergo food hygiene courses, but they are also always equipped with safety gear while working inside the plant. They wear face shields, face masks, earplugs, helmets, and safety boots, ensuring their safety and well-being and the integrity of the meat processing procedures. 

Over time, Verran has also witnessed how technology revolutionised the industry, streamlining their tasks and making their work more efficient. 

As we took a peek at what happens inside the abattoir, we realised what Verran meant when he said it is a fascinating place to work at. We left with a promise that the next time we purchase meat from local supermarkets, we’ll take a moment to appreciate the hard work of Verran and all the other individuals working behind the scenes.


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