Unilever Tea Factory builds strong ties with Pietermaritzburg community
The Pietermaritzburg based Tea manufacturing factory of the leading FMCG Company, Unilever, has a strategic intent that is aligned to the organisation’s Unilever Sustainability Living Plan (USLP) that intends to create a brighter future for the Pietermaritzburg Community by building stronger ties with local government and business. The factory opened its doors to local stakeholders including but not limited to the Honourable Mayor of the Msunduzi Municipality, Councilor Chris Ndlela and the Pietermaritzburg Business Chamber.
The Unilever Pietermaritzburg Tea Factory has had a long and proud history since it was purchased from Pitco in 1970. The Tea Factory is the home of to some of South Africa’s favourite tea brands Glen, Joko and Lipton. Over the years, the factory has been one of the key employers in Pietermaritzburg and has partnered with the local Sobantu community in upliftment initiatives.
“Over the years, the tea factory has seen some changes take place that have resulted in a R51 million investment that will secure the future of the factory,” said Ntokozo Sithole, Site Lead at Unilever Pietermaritzburg Tea Factory, “We do not operate in isolation and we need to work together as citizens and a close community to give Pietermaritzburg a sustainable future.”
With over 140 employees, the Pietermaritzburg Tea Factory not only focuses on reaching targets but also on training and developing its workforce. “Continuous training is important in developing your employees so that they can remain energized and can give their best,” said Ntokozo, “We have given a number of our workers an opportunity to complete their matric and go on to get formal qualifications.”
Business can only operate successfully in a conducive environment and no one understands it more than local Mayor, Councillor Chris Ndlela. “We are appreciate Unilever for setting up this Stakeholder Event,” said Mayor Ndlela, “A lot rests on local government in creating an environment that fosters business including building infrastructure that contributes towards productivity that alleviates unemployment.”
Unilever has actively been involved in campaigns at various local schools in and around Pietermaritzburg. The school campaigns include the Adopt-A School Programme at Russell Primary School, Handwashing Campaign with Unilever’s Lifebuoy brand, School Uniform Donation Drives as well as Team Building Exercises with staff to restore and uplift local schools. The business also drives awareness of employment opportunities and career guidance through its Career Days in order to attract young talent and believes in creating local employment opportunities.