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Unions urge against Cadbury boycott

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 19/02/2017
Politicians and social media pundits have begun laying the boot into Cadbury after its announced on Thursday it was closing its Dunedin chocolate factory at a cost of 350 jobs. © Press Association Images Politicians and social media pundits have begun laying the boot into Cadbury after its announced on Thursday it was closing its Dunedin chocolate factory at a cost of 350 jobs.

Union leaders are calling for chocolate fans to not boycott Cadbury over its decision to shut its Dunedin factory, saying it will only speed up job losses.

The company has faced backlash since owner Mondelez International on Thursday announced it would close the 150-year-old factory at the cost of 350 jobs.

But E tu, the union that represent's some of the factory's workers, has called for the public to keep supporting the brand until the factory closes.

E tu Industry co-ordinator Chas Muir says while they believe the closure is a poor economic decision and will hurt the brand, it wants people to keep buying its products to secure workers' jobs until the closure.

"It is very clear from the response across social media, talk-back and via media polls that the public has taken this news hard, and they are looking for ways to support these workers," he said.

"Our union's position is we don't support boycotts if they threaten jobs."

Politicians and social media pundits have been laying the boot into Cadbury since the announcement and a one Dunedin dairy owner has vowed to boycott its products, calling on others to do the same.

"Some big corporates have no concern for people, history or what country they operate in - all they want is profit and Cadbury's closure is just another example of this," NZ First Winston Peters said last week.

However, Auckland University of Technology marketing expert Professor Roger Marshall says he doubts the blowback will greatly affect the giant chocolate maker's brand.

"Consumers have a pretty short memory on these things, and it won't be long before chocolate lovers don't really care very much," he said.

He said the decision to move manufacturing jobs out of New Zealand had become a common story.

"Cadbury's is a massive company and we are a very small market so in a commercial sense it is a bit of a no-brainer," he said

Labour leader Andrew Little is in Dunedin on Monday to meet with the factory's workers and union delegates.

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