Cerebos Gregg's to close Auckland plant

JOSH MARTIN
Last updated 15:09 20/03/2014

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Trans-Tasman food and coffee manufacturer Cerebos Gregg's is closing its Auckland plant by December with the loss of up to 125 jobs.

Coffee and food currently produced by Cerebos-Greggs at East Tamaki will move to Dunedin and Sydney.

The company has promised workers employment until the December 19 shutdown date and will use the time to help staff find other work, it said in a statement.

Cerebos Gregg's chief executive Terry Svenson said the East Tamaki plant was costing too much to run and needed capital investment.

"This is a truly sad day for everyone involved. But we can't justify continuing to invest money in this ageing plant when we already have more modern manufacturing facilities capable of increased volumes," he said.

Svenson said coffee production will move to Dunedin and food production to Sydney.

The southern city can not expect many new jobs as a result of the move, which includes a $10 million plant renovation. Any new jobs would be in "operational support roles", the company said.

Service and Food Workers Union (SFWU) food sector leader Chas Muir said the Dunedin move would not create jobs for affected workers.

"None of the big food factories are employing and it will be very hard for them to find jobs in their communities of South and East Auckland, especially at Christmas time," he said.

The SFWU said the workers would be entitled to some redundancy payments after the "disastrous" sackings.

Muir blamed poor government policy in the manufacturing sector.

"This Government's lack of support for manufacturing is hitting areas like food processing hard. That flows on to families and communities," Muir said.

The Government was happy to promote New Zealand as a low-wage work destination for multinational companies, but did nothing to keep decent jobs in sectors such as food manufacturing, he said.

"The human cost of this closure is decent stable jobs lost from poor communities that need jobs more than ever."

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- Fairfax Media

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