The Butchers from Down Under Skip to content

The Butchers from Down Under

The BBC had an interesting story about a group of butchers who commute to work once a year. Only 22,300 km (about 13,850 miles) to go—each leg. The brave butchers travel from provincial New Zealand to rural Iceland—for just two months’ work.

Shawn Parkinson travels as follows: Dannevirke to Auckland (both in New Zealand): six-hour drive. Auckland to Sydney (Australia): three-hour flight. Sydney to Dubai: 14 and a half hours in the air. Dubai to London: seven-hour flight. London to Reykjavík: almost three hours’ flying time. Reykjavík to Blönduós, Northwest Iceland: three-hour drive.

The online application form to work at Norðlenska asks prospective employees to rate their English language—not Icelandic—skills.

“Skilled butchers are hard to find in Iceland so we get people from Britain, Poland and Slovakia. Some of them come year after year to work for us,” says Norðlenska’s HR manager Jóna Jónsdóttir.

“The unemployment rate is rather low in Iceland compared to the rest of Europe so it is sometimes difficult to get Icelandic workers for seasonal work.”

So when you eat Icelandic lamb (which is unlikely, unless you are in Iceland) think of the men who really do the work, our friends from New Zealand.

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