Winding down with pineapple lumps

"It's a sad day, that's a fact", was how Cadbury worker Campbell McPhee described the impending final production run of the Dunedin factory this afternoon.

"It's over team, we're moving on."

Cadbury staff will today mark the last run at the factory with a special morning tea.

The shift officially finishes at 4pm and the last product to come off the line will be pineapple lumps.

Mr McPhee told The South Today it was not all about the factory workers.

"There's lots and lots of people that supply stuff for Cadbury. There's lots and lots of relationships."

Worker Teresa Gooch said she would have a big piece missing after the closure.

"It's been a pretty sad year really. It's been really hard. We're getting a bit excited maybe that the end is coming because it's been hard on everybody.

"What I'll miss most about working here is the huge family atmosphere," she said.

Worker Bora McLay said her feelings were a mixture of happy and sad.

"I'm feeling a bit lost."

Site manager Judith Mair said only three people would finish working at the factory today, and the remaining 27 manufacturing team members would return next week to clean and close the manufacturing areas before the Easter break.

"A number of salaried staff and engineers also leave at Easter, so after the break we will then have about 35 people to continue the decommissioning and removal of equipment from the site."

She said the work was expected to take until about September, and the number of people involved would gradually decline until that time.

Much of the equipment removed from the site would go to Mondelez sites in Australia.

Some of it would also be sold or disposed of, she said.

Once decommissioning had reached a point where prospective buyers could assess the site, the sales process would go into full swing.

It has previously been suggested as a possible location for the rebuild of Dunedin Hospital, but Ms Mair declined to say whether the company had been contacted by the Dunedin hospital Local Advisory Group.

"As a matter of practice, we don't comment on speculation on any matter, including the sale of the site."

She said the site had manufactured food for 150 years, and the business had been part of the site and city for 86 years, so the final production runs would be "emotional" for all staff.

"That said, we're incredibly proud of our performance, which remains amongst the best in the Mondelez network across some key criteria, and as a business, we're equally proud of the support we've provided to the team over the last 12 months to help them adjust to this change and prepare for life after the factory."

Despite the closure, the company is investing $7million in refurbishing the Old Dairy building on Castle St, which will become the new site of Cadbury World.

Ms Mair said "a great deal of work" had already been completed on the refurbishment, which started about 12 months ago.

"It's now a weather-tight, structurally sound building, ready to be fitted out."

- Additional reporting The South Today

Comments

The factory wasn't losing money , and as such , I for one will no longer support or recommend the tour. I hope neither will the council as they are no longer supporting us or the people who are losing their livelihoods. Shutting down a profitable factory simply because it wasn't profitable enough is a slap in the face for a city which has supported and subsidized them , as well as showing disrespect for things like the history of the relationship. Exactly the same reasons as I no longer fly Air NZ after cutting flights out of the city despite being profitable , and even worse promising to replace the flights with the new aircraft and then not doing so.