Cad­bury’s em­ploy­ees eye up SC

The Timaru Herald - - FRONT PAGE - BEN AULAKH

Soon-to-be re­dun­dant Cad­bury’s work­ers from Dunedin could be set to taste suc­cess up the road in Ti­maru.

A Cad­bury Em­ploy­ment Expo was held in Dunedin last week­end to help more than 350 work­ers set to lose their jobs when the city’s choco­late fac­tory closes over the com­ing months.

Ao­raki De­vel­op­ment oper­a­tions man­ager Di Hay said three of its staff were ‘‘flat out’’ at the expo talk­ing to work­ers from the plant about swap­ping Dunedin for South Can­ter­bury.

‘‘A range of staff, from ma­chine op­er­a­tors, su­per­vi­sors and qual­ity per­son­nel, to in­dus­trial en­gi­neers and in­dus­trial elec­tri­cians are among the Cad­bury’s fac­tory staff in Dunedin con­sid­er­ing op­tions for fu­ture em­ploy­ment in Ti­maru.

‘‘Once we started talk­ing to peo­ple it was sur­pris­ing how many were pre­pared to leave Dunedin and saw Ti­maru as a nearby, re­al­is­tic op­tion.

‘‘They asked about house prices, rental prop­er­ties, schools and what it would be like for their fam­i­lies if they shifted.

‘‘One of the first things we asked the Cad­bury’s staff we talked to, was ‘are you pre­pared to move to Ti­maru’?

‘‘Most didn’t hes­i­tate and said yes [be­cause] there’s noth­ing to hold them to Dunedin and they’d move for a good job.’’

Hay said Bark­ers Fruit Pro­ces­sors, Ocea­nia Dairy, Ara, Fon­terra, Al­liance and Sil­ver Fern Farms were show­ing off what they could of­fer at the expo.

The first set of work­ers will leave Cad­bury’s on Novem­ber 22, with a sec­ond lot set for the chop on De­cem­ber 23.

About 250 peo­ple will lose their jobs this year, while an­other 100 jobs will be cut in Fe­bru­ary and March next year.

South Can­ter­bury Cham­ber of Com­merce chief ex­ec­u­tive Wendy Smith said the news of Cad­bury’s work­ers po­ten­tially mov­ing to Ti­maru was wel­come given the on­go­ing work­ers’’.

‘‘This could prove to be an ex­cel­lent tran­si­tion for th­ese em­ploy­ees en­abling them to re­main in em­ploy­ment and in the South Is­land.’’

Smith said while the match be­tween em­ployer and em­ployee ‘‘can never be pre de­ter­mined’’, there was a ‘‘more likely’’ match as the Cad­bury’s em­ploy­ees ‘‘are leav­ing a spe­cial­ist food pro­ces­sor’’.

‘‘I’m sure our em­ploy­ers, schools, com­mu­ni­ties and the cham­ber would look to sup­port th­ese em­ploy­ees and their fam­i­lies tran­si­tion to South Can­ter­bury.’’

Hay said staff from Cad­bury’s were en­cour­aged to bring along hard copies of their CVs to give to per­spec­tive em­ploy­ers at the expo.

‘‘We brought a num­ber back to pass on to busi­nesses here as po­ten­tial staff.’’

Hay said Ao­raki De­vel­op­ment ap­proached a num­ber of busi­nesses in the Ti­maru dis­trict be­fore the expo, to find out about job va­can­cies that might suit the Cad­bury’s staff.

It had now passed on in­for­ma­tion about staff to po­ten­tial em­ploy­ers.

Hay said Ao­raki de­vel­op­ment would be keep­ing in touch with the busi­nesses to find out how many Cad­bury’s staff made the move, she said.

‘‘It’s a tough time for the Cad­bury’s staff and for some it’s their sec­ond re­dun­dancy’’, Hay said of the work­ers. ‘‘short­age of skilled

Di Hay

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