Restaurant worker tells of job shock

By PATRICK O'SULLIVAN - Business Editor

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When Salina Chamberlain turned up for work on Monday morning at Breakers restaurant in Napier on August 2 last year she was told she had no job.

She had $4500 owing to her in holiday pay and wages.

Her employer, Breakers NZ Franchising, had been locked out of the building for not paying their rent to the Masonic Hotel owners.

Breakers NZ Franchising had operated Rosie O'Grady's Irish pub, Med Bar and Bistro, Breakers restaurant and the iconic building's accommodation.

The owners of the building for the previous 10 years, Neil Barber and Craig Hay, offered to hire Salina under her previous terms and conditions.

So she walked one block to her old employer's head office in Cathedral Lane, to get a copy of her contract.

She was greeted by her old boss Mark Burt.

"He said if I didn't get offered a good deal he would give me a job at his new Breakers restaurant in Tennyson St," she said.

"I just laughed and ignored him - he made the same offer to other staff."

Mr Barber and Mr Hay hired all but one of the 29 employees left in the lurch from the four enterprises in their building.

Breakers NZ Franchising was placed in receivership, as was the parent company.

At the time of the lockout a second Napier Breakers franchise operation had started up in the old Valentine's restaurant premises on Tennyson St.

At the time Mr Burt told Hawke's Bay Today he had started the second Breakers in Napier because there were four years left on his Masonic Hotel lease and the owners had indicated they would not be renewing it.

In October 2010 Breakers NZ Franchising issued a press release saying a group of franchisees had become franchisors by buying the franchise rights from the receivers with a company called Breakers Restaurants.

Companies Office records show that the Burts transferred their shareholding in Breakers Restaurants to family members in July this year.

- HAWKES BAY TODAY

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