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Workers laid off

Last updated 10:16 23/12/2013

TALKING SHOP: Labour leader David Cunliffe with former Griffins workers, from left: Jenny Bertram and Ngareke Tapeta and Takanini Lodge healthcare assistant Lemasaniai Tulai.

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Christmas will not be very merry for Ngareke Tapeta.

The former Griffins employee is one of 45 fulltime staff who have been laid off from the biscuit-maker's Papakura factory.

"I loved working at Griffins," Mrs Tapeta says.

"Most of us are older workers and it will be hard to find another job."

Staff say the biscuit-maker laid off staff from its factory in Hunua Rd, only to bring in temporary workers to replace them, saying it no longer had enough packers to cover the Christmas rush.

The Service and Food Workers Union has filed a joint personal grievance case for unjustified dismissal on their behalf.

Spokeswoman Jill Ovens says the union "made a big fuss" and got some of the workers rehired on a temporary basis until Christmas but most are now jobless.

The case will be heard next year, she says.

Griffins says it is constantly reviewing its business to stay efficient and competitive.

As a result, 45 permanent jobs were "disestablished" in September after "an extensive and constructive consultation process with the respective unions", which looked at all options, spokesman Barry Akers says.

The company could not comment further because at the time the Papakura Courier went to print Griffins had not been formally notified of any case being filed by the union, Mr Aker says.

Labour leader David Cunliffe has met with the disgruntled employees and union reps to discuss employment matters.

Griffins workers, Labour Party members and local residents attended the meeting in the new Edmund Hillary School hall. About 50 people attended the meeting, which focused on jobs, housing and transport issues in Papakura and Takanini.

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- Papakura Courier

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