£75m investment a ‘seminal moment’ for Bournville

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GBCC Welcomes Investment

Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce (GBCC) today welcomed the announcement that Mondelez is looking to invest £75 million in securing the long-term future of Bournville as the global centre of chocolate in the Mondelez group.

 

The investment is conditional on a successful conclusion to employee consultations which have just started. Mondelez wants to hear from employees about how new ways of working can be used to maximise the introduction of new technologies that the £75 million investment will bring.

 

Tim Pile, President of Birmingham Chamber of Commerce, said “This is a seminal moment for Bournville. Like other parts of British manufacturing there is a productivity gap in Bournville that needs closing, in order for Bournville to compete with the best in the world.

 

“The Chamber worked very closely with Lord Heseltine in the production of his ‘No Stone Unturned’ report in 2012, which examined the competitiveness of the UK. The report highlighted that it takes a British manufacturer ten hours to achieve the same output that an American worker can do in eight hours. This has to change.

 

“So it is no surprise that at Bournville, things need to improve. But the fantastic news is Mondelez believe in the potential of Bournville. Capital is global and moves round the world easily and fast.

 

“Mondelez could have chosen to invest in Germany, where chocolate bars can be manufactured at just half the cost. By putting this investment deal on the table, Mondelez is signalling its belief that Bournville has a great future.

 

“We can draw parallels with the car industry. For many years, UK factories for the likes of Honda, Toyota and Nissan have had to compete to build cars with other plants within the parent companies. This has resulted in the UK factories now being able to compete with the best in the world. It is this prize of global competiveness that now sits within the grasp of Bournville and the achievement of which will secure the future of the factory for many years to come.”

 

“I would also commend the maturity of Mondelez’s approach to consulting with its employees. Technology investments of this type inevitably mean a requirement for fewer jobs. However, Mondelez wants to involve its employees in thinking through every idea possible before arriving at a jobs number.

 

“This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to completely re-imagine how Bournville should be equipped and to install alongside the technology, similarly world-class practices in terms of flexible and competitive working practices.”

 

Jerry Blackett, chief executive of the GBCC, added: “The Chamber has for many years been urging businesses in the region to benchmark themselves against the best in the world. We know there is still a productivity challenge in our industrial base.

 

“Today’s welcome news from Mondelez confirms what we know-that the region has the potential to be a world-class base for manufacturing-provided our skills base shows its determination to compete. I have every confidence that the folks at Bournville will grasp this amazing investment prize and work with Mondelez on designing a business fit for the next thirty and forty years.”

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