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Issue #1557      25 July 2012

Darrell Lea’s future

One hundred and sixty manufacturing jobs are still hanging in the balance at confectionery manufacturer Darrell Lea. However the Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union (AMWU) is hopeful a future can be found for workers and the company.

The Sydney-based company entered administration last week. Workers were given no warning of its financial peril. AMWU member Christine Bailey said the news came as a shock.

“We were all asked to meet in the canteen at 10.15 and we thought what’s going on? And when we got there, there were a lot of admin people there and we thought oh that’s very strange because normally they don’t come to our meetings.

“People were just dumbstruck, absolutely dumbstruck. They didn’t know how to handle it. I saw one girl from admin, she was crying.”

AMWU NSW Food and Confectionery Division secretary, Bruce O’Keefe, said the union and workers had since been updated about Darrell Lea’s financial situation and were preparing to meet with administrators.

“We’re looking forward to getting a clearer picture from PPB (company administrators). At this stage we understand there have been a number of formal and informal offers made to buy the company.

“Ideally any new owner would not break up the company but would retain all of the jobs in manufacturing. It would ensure this important side of the business is protected.”

Mr O’Keefe said the union was still unclear as to whether the company would be able to pay all the workers’ entitlements but it was a positive sign that production was continuing.

“Although they are concerned about their future, it’s business as usual for our members, they’re continuing on the production floor. What we’re looking for from the administrators and potential buyers is a bit of that in return. A commitment to keep jobs and maintain this proud and loyal workforce.”

Mr O’Keefe also reported that since the company had entered administration, Australians had showed their support in mass for the Darrell Lea brand.  

Next article – Lend Lease workers strike

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