It’s amazing how social media has truly brought the world together and, in this particular instance, shown how the trauma of losing a major employer can impact on a community.
Many in Keynsham are still getting over the pain of how the town lost its identity when Cadbury’s new American owners Kraft decided to change their minds and close the factory they said they would save – back in 2011. It was at a cost of 1,000 jobs.
The old Somerdale factory site
Things have moved on. The old red factory buildings are being turned into a retirement village and there’s new residential housing on the site and the promise of business units to hopefully bring new jobs.
Now, across the world in New Zealand, another Cadbury’s factory faces closure in Dunedin – the second largest city in the South Island.
The company is now owned by Mondelez International – a spin-off snacks-side business created by Kraft – and has cited increased costs and distance to its markets as making it untenable to continue the business – even though those who oppose the closure say it is still profitable. Three hundred and sixty people will lose their jobs.
The Cadbury’s factory at Dunedin, New Zealand. © Mondelez International
The developing story is being covered by the city’s daily paper the Otago Daily Times – https://www.odt.co.nz/news/dunedin/bitter-aftertaste-cadburys-closing
By all means check out their website. In doing that, l found a story a reporter from the Otago Daily Times had done on how Keynsham in the UK was still feeling the pain of its factory closure.
It is featured on the website of the New Zealand Herald via http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=11807638 and well worth reading.
I am hoping they won’t mind me quoting a section of it. A report by Chris Morris.
“Stephen Rodgers, editor of the weekly Keynsham newspaper The Week In, told the ODT many in the town felt the company’s Quaker traditions had been “sold out by the Cadbury board to maximise profits and satisfy the concerns of institutional investors”.
Those Quaker values encouraged a loyal workforce, many of who remained in the town all their working lives.
But with so many staff close to retirement, the company was able to persuade them to accept enhanced redundancy packages, forcing the unions to “stand down”, he said.
And, despite a “continued and high-profile campaign” by town residents, “the ink was in effect dry on the deal”.
The town had survived the economic effects, and the former factory site provided much-needed space for 600 new homes, as well as the retirement village.But that did not mean the “resentment” had disappeared, he said.
“Cadbury was an icon that was very much a part of the town’s history and heritage … I think everyone felt there was a difference between what was morally right and corporately desirable.
“Of course, in such cases, the corporate argument always wins.”
Do visit the site to read the full report. A situation linking two towns that are 11,426 miles apart.