Money Editor for NZ Herald

What Cadbury told Dunedin workers

Cadbury staff leave the Dunedin factory after being briefed on the proposal to end operations. Photo / Otago Daily Times
Cadbury staff leave the Dunedin factory after being briefed on the proposal to end operations. Photo / Otago Daily Times

Staff are Cadbury's Dunedin factory will have to wait at least three weeks to find out the final fate of the company and their jobs.

Mondelez International, the owner of Cadbury, confirmed the closure yesterday, telling its staff at least 200 people would be made redundant by the end of the year.

In an employee briefing pack leaked to Newstalk ZB staff were told to go home yesterday on full pay but that they were expected to be back on the job this morning.

The company reiterated that the factory closure was only a proposal at this stage.

"The announcement today is a proposal only."

It will now head into a consultation period with staff that is expected to last two weeks.

A week after the consultation ends the company will communicate its decision to the business.

If the proposal goes ahead the company expects to continue running the factory for the first half of 2017 before beginning out-training and replacement support from July.

It would then ramp production down in the final quarter of 2017 before ending it completely by March 2018.

The company would formally give notice to staff between the fourth quarter of this year and the first quarter of next year, triggering redundancy provisions.

Staff were also reminded in the pack not to communicate with the media and were asked to use their "best judgement" before posting anything to social media.

"At a high level, any communication with media representatives must come from or be facilitated by our Corporate & Governmental Affairs team."

The company said it had been reviewing its operations and considering its future in Dunedin for a number of months.

It had invested heavily in the site over the last decade and while the Dunedin team had performed well it was an expensive site to operate.

"While we have invested over $80 million in the factory in the last 10 years and the site is performing well, the factory is a long way from its market."

"Additionally the volume produced is small across a complex product portfolio."

"On review we have identified that the Dunedin volume could be absorbed into Australian sites."

The company will continue to operate Cadbury World for now with profits from the tourist attraction used to reinvest in the business and boost visitor numbers.

It was hoped those plans would also increase employment beyond the current positions.

However once redevelopment was completed, likely to be in 2018/19, the company said it would look to partner with a private operator to continue running Cadbury World in the future.

No decision had been made about the future of the factory site but if the proposal was adopted it would engage key stakeholders on what would happen to it.

If the proposal goes ahead it would look to continue employing 100 people in New Zealand in its commercial team.

- NZ Herald

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