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Cadbury factory closure wrong: Mayor

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 16/03/2017

The Dunedin Mayor is 'disappointed and saddened' at the confirmation of the Dunedin Cadbury factory closure.

Mondelez confirmed on Friday morning that the Cadbury factory operations will shut down in early 2018.

The decision to close the factory was misguided and wrong, Mayor of Dunedin, Dave Cull, said, and he was extremely disappointed and saddened, he said in a statement.

"The Cadbury factory is efficient and profitable, with a highly skilled and loyal workforce. I believe Mondelez has underestimated the contribution of our city to their success and they will ultimately regret this decision."

No alternative to closure could be found following four weeks of consultation, Mondelez said in a statement.

"We could not find a viable option that met global benchmarks and ensured the ongoing sustainable operation of the factory," Mondelez Australia, New Zealand and Japan vice-president Amanda Banfield said.

Hundreds have turned out to protest since the closure was proposed in February, with political leaders calling on its multi-national owner to listen to ideas to keep it running.

Workers' union E Tu says it's extremely disappointed, though not surprised, by the decision.

"This is a sad day for those loyal, high-performing workers who will lose their jobs. It is also bad news for the people of Dunedin. These are high-value jobs, and an export business which is disappearing," the union's strategic director of food, Neville Donaldson, said.

The factory has been operating in the South Island city for almost 150 years, and more than 300 jobs will be lost.

"I am gutted for the workers affected by the closure. The appropriate agencies and organisations will pull together to support them," Mr Cull said,.

But Mondelez was seeking alternative manufacturers to make New Zealand brands of Cadbury products, including Pineapple Lumps, Jaffas, Chocolate Fish and Buzz Bar, Mr Donaldson said.

"Any jobs created through this venture would be offered first to redundant Cadbury workers with the necessary skills."

Mr Cull took comfort in that options were being looked at for the local market.

Popular tourist attraction, Cadbury World, will remain open as it attracts over 110,000 visitors each year.

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