Cadbury staff report problems with banks

By Eileen Goodwin

The iconic Dunedin Cadbury factory is to stop production. Photo / File
The iconic Dunedin Cadbury factory is to stop production. Photo / File

Cadbury workers are having trouble securing bank loans and house tenancies because of the threat over their jobs, making their lives "so difficult", their union says.

E tu industrial strategy director Neville Donaldson said Cadbury workers were reporting "quite disturbing" experiences after interactions with prospective landlords and bank staff.

"The consequences are really starting to take effect before even the decision has been made around the closure. That's just terrible. It's just making their lives so difficult."

Bank staff and prospective landlords were questioning workers' ability to service loans or pay rent.

"What the banks are saying is if you're taking out a loan with the purpose of paying it over five years, but you've only got nine months' job security, it's a gamble for them," Mr Donaldson said.

Last night Dunedin Deputy Mayor Chris Staynes called on landlords and banks to change their attitude.

"I would hope that our banking community, within the rules that banks have to work with, would treat these people the same as anybody else in the community. They're not out of work at this stage.

"It's very premature if banks are saying now that they won't give them a mortgage or landlords won't rent them a house," Cr Staynes said.

Dunedin South MP Clare Curran said any worker experiencing such difficulties should get in touch with her office.

The reported experiences were very "un-Dunedin".

"This is not how we do things in Dunedin," Ms Curran said.

Under the proposal, Mondelez would lay off 362 Dunedin staff and shift production to Australia.

About 200 staff would lose their jobs late this year and the rest would follow when the factory finally closed in March next year.

Mr Donaldson said an organiser from the Australian union that covers Melbourne Mondelez workers visited Dunedin this week to attend consultation meetings in a show of solidarity.

There was no set end-date for consultation, but once it finished, Mondelez expected to announce its decision about a week later.

This week, E tu launched an online petition calling on Mondelez to keep the factory open. Yesterday, it had more than 6500 signatures.

- Otago Daily Times

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