Cadbury history project criticised

The Dunedin factory is to close in March next year. Photo: ODT files
The Dunedin factory is to close in March next year. Photo: ODT files

Plans to document the social history of the Dunedin Cadbury factory ‘‘smacks of a guilty conscience’’ on the part of Mondelez International, a former Cadbury marketing manager says.

Mondelez would not confirm details but said projects were under way to ‘‘recognise the history of the site’’ as it prepares to close the factory.

Mike Groves
Mike Groves

The Otago Daily Times understands former Allied Press journalist Steve Addison has been contracted to compile a book, but Mr Addison declined to comment when contacted.

A Mondelez spokesman said the multinational was working with a ‘‘range of experts’’ on social history projects.

‘‘This includes documenting some of the amazing stories from our people, as well as a comprehensive dive into our archives to ensure important records remain accessible to the local community into the future.

‘‘Some material will also find its way into the redeveloped Cadbury World so that visitors will get a sense for the site and what Cadbury has meant to Dunedin over the last 85 years and the story of the site over 149 years since industrial use began.’’

It included recordings of staff.

‘‘Audio histories are a wonderful way to get a permanent record of our people and their stories in their own words.

‘‘We’re in the initial planning stages but are really looking forward to giving our people the chance to tell their story and ensure we recognise how important they’ve been in the narrative of the site and our business,’’ the spokesman said.

Former marketing manager Mike Groves, who worked at Cadbury between 1967 and 1981, said the projects suggested Mondelez felt bad about closing a profitable factory.

‘‘It’s huge, Cadbury has been there since 1930,’’ he said.

He believed the company was ‘‘soft-soaping Dunedin’’ with its exit plans, which include a revamped Cadbury World.

‘‘We’re not going to make anything there but we’ll still provide this tourist attraction,’’ he said.

While Mondelez was making a local effort to smooth the closure, it was likely to be of little import in the company as a whole, Mr Groves said.

‘‘The boss of Mondelez is sitting in Chicago. [He] wouldn’t even know where New Zealand is, let alone Dunedin, let alone have any feeling at all for 350 jobs.’’

Looking back on his time at Cadbury, Mr Groves said it was a ‘‘very different company then’’.

‘‘It still had the old Quaker values and the family feel. They would never have done what Mondelez is doing.’’

Mr Groves acknowledged the social history projects could be a comfort to some of the departing workers.

Before Christmas, 250 staff will finish up at the factory, followed by another 100 staff when it closes next March.

It is understood the final day for the 250 staff is December 22.

eileen.goodwin@odt.co.nz

 

Comments

Ah yes- if Quaker values sell out to the largest bidder then the values part goes out the window. Its happened to all the family firms too. Company greed before people is what happens.