350 jobs lost in Cad­bury clo­sure

Jaf­fas and Pineap­ple Lumps could be made over­seas

The Press - - News - HAMISH McNEILLY and ELLEN READ

Kiwi favourites Jaf­fas and Pineap­ple Lumps could be made over­seas un­der a plan to shut Cad­bury’s Dunedin fac­tory with the loss of more than 350 jobs.

Cad­bury’s owner, Amer­i­can food gi­ant Mon­delez In­ter­na­tional, un­veiled the plan yes­ter­day to close the fac­tory next year.

While its choco­late bars are al­ready pro­duced over­seas, the Dunedin fac­tory, which has been open since 1884, still makes Pineap­ple Lumps and Jaf­fas, as well as crumb choco­late that is used in other prod­ucts.

Un­der the pro­posal, all of the vol­ume would be ab­sorbed into ex­ist­ing Mon­delez op­er­a­tions ‘‘mostly in Aus­tralia’’, Amanda Ban­field, Mon­delez vice-pres­i­dent for Aus­tralia, New Zealand and Ja­pan, said. ‘‘In the case of the Kiwi favourites, the Pineap­ple Lumps and Jaf­fas, we are in­ter­ested in look­ing at whether there is a lo­cal man­u­fac­turer will­ing to take that on be­half and would man­u­fac­ture here for us.’’

That could be in Dunedin, she said, adding that the recipes would not be changed and con­firm­ing the prod­ucts would still be avail­able.

De­spite the ‘‘great work of the team’’ and an $80 mil­lion in­vest­ment over the past decade, the com­pany was un­able to find a longterm fu­ture for the fac­tory, Ban­field said. ‘‘The plant is not los­ing money, it is not about that. It is about its long-term sus­tain­abil­ity. It is ac­tu­ally more cost-ef­fec­tive for us to move this vol­ume else­where and that is re­ally the view we have taken.’’

She said the Dunedin op­er­a­tion was chal­lenged by scale, with the vol­ume about a third of what it needed to be sus­tain­able in the long-term. About 70 per cent of what was pro­duced in Dunedin was ex­ported, mainly to Aus­tralia, and ship­ping across the Tas­man, ‘‘was one of the most ex­pen­sive stretches of wa­ter to ship across in the world’’.

Mon­delez said it would in­vest to re­de­velop the tourist side of the pop­u­lar Cad­bury World op­er­a­tion if the lo­cal com­mu­nity wanted it to.

Hun­dreds of work­ers were called to a meet­ing and briefed on the pro­posal yes­ter­day.

The E Tu Union, which rep­re­sents some of the af­fected work­ers, said the shock waves would roll through Dunedin.

‘‘The com­pany had re­ported it was do­ing well and this has come out of the blue,’’ E Tu’s Chas Muir said. ‘‘It’s dev­as­tat­ing news for the work­ers at Cad­bury’s and for the lo­cal Dunedin econ­omy. Cad­bury is the city’s fourth big­gest em­ployer and many work­ers have been with the com­pany for years.’’

If the plan goes ahead, the first job loses will kick in late this year for most staff. Mon­delez said about 100 peo­ple would be kept on un­til early 2018.

New Zealand First leader Win­ston Peters said the move would prompt con­sumers to buy New Zealand made choco­late.

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