Cadbury has gone from getting a $16 million federal grant to expand to shedding 20% of its Hobart workforce, with the company announcing today that it will cut 80 jobs from its Claremont factory.
Tony Abbott pledged $16 million to Cadbury in the lead up to the 2013 election, amid promises of a $66 million upgrade to the Tasmanian chocolate plant and 300 new jobs. But in March the company walked away from the offer, which included a new visitor centre for the 93-year-old site, saying it would not commit the $50 million balance because it could not meet the criteria required of a 20% growth in production.
Cadbury, now owned by global food giant Mondelez, says the decision is not linked to the end of the grant plan, but the plant was not globally competitive and productivity at the site needed to improve to make it competitive. The company recently released a Vegemite-flavoured milk chocolate bar to mixed reviews.
“We need to improve the efficiency of the site,” a Cadbury spokesperson said, adding that staffing reductions would mostly be found via voluntary redundancies.
The company will reduce some shifts from daily to six days and others from six to five days.
Prime minister Tony Abbott said he was disappointed by the news and sad that the company did to proceed with grant investment, but added the Tasmanian economy had a lot more confidence in it.
The federal government says the $16 million will go to other projects in Tasmania, however the figure was deleted as a line item in the federal Budget earlier this month.
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