The Cocoa Processing Company (CPC), manufacturers of cocoa liquor, butter, powder, chocolate and cocoa confectionery on Monday shut down two of its three factories to enable management carry out routine maintenance work.
The two factories are the “Cocoa factories One and Two” which use raw cocoa to process semi-finished products leaving the third, which is the confectionery factory, in operation.
The Senior Public Relations Manager for the CPC, Mr. Ekow Rhule, in an interview with the media, was emphatic that despite the development, there would be enough chocolate on the market to mark the National Chocolate Day on February 14.
The shutdown, which he described as ‘temporary,’ is affecting about 80 staffs who work in both factories, together with their supporting staffs and have been asked to proceed on their annual leave while the maintenance is ongoing.
He denied reports that the company is in crisis and on its way to laying off workers permanently. He explained the inability of management to give a specific date the maintenance would end and said because their experience over time had indicated the possibility that other faults may come up and would have to be fixed along the line.
Mr. Rhule disclosed that the Confectionery factory had already undergone its routine maintenance, while the Cocoa Factories One and Two had to delay because the company had a contract which it had to carry out to meet a deadline, hence the decision to reschedule the maintenance work so that they could meet the contract deadline.
He said there is no cause for alarm and explained that the staff had to go on mass leave because management thought it wise to give the staff in those factories the opportunity to go on their annual leave while there is no work going on, so that when maintenance work is over, they would have the full staff strength for operation.
The Senior Public Relations Officer refuted allegations that the factory is shutting down because the factory had ran out of cocoa.
Meanwhile, the development has left the affected staff feeling uneasy, especially as they are unsure of the specific day of their resumption of duty.
However, the Tema Regional Officer of the Industrial and Commercial Workers Union, Mr. Eleazer Nyaunu told the media that the union is closely monitoring affairs and would meet management of CPC.
He assured the affected staff that they would protect their job and security.