A Cadbury spokesman said: “The closure plans are still on schedule, and the factory shutdown is scheduled for the end of this year, although many workers are currently still on site.”
He added that "quite a number" of workers were still based at Somerdale and that substantial numbers (200-300) could stay on after production ceased, although he predicted that by the second quarter of 2011 only a skeleton staff would remain, “engineers involved with machinery strip-outs, security personnel, etc.”.
Famous lines produced at Somerdale in its heyday included Crunchie, Turkish Delight and Chomp, and although the spokesman did not say precisely which lines are currently still being made on site, he confirmed that “Picnic and Double Decker will most likely be the last to go”.
Unions cried betrayal
Cadbury's new Polish facility in Skarbimierz made headlines in February after new owner Kraft reneged on a pledge to keep the Somerdale facility open because Cadbury's plans to transfer production abroad were "unrealistic to reverse”given their advanced stage.
The move enraged trade union bosses, who accused Kraft of betraying the 400 staff at the factory, who were assured that their jobs were safe when the bid was launched.
Unusually, claimed Kraft executive vice-president for corporate and legal affairs Marc Firestone, Cadbury had engaged in a costly ‘parallel running’ process, installing expensive equipment in Poland while still manufacturing in Somerdale.
By the time Kraft realised what was going on, he claimed, Cadbury had already invested more than £100m in the site at Skarbimierz, with the majority of the money spent on bespoke kit for products such as Curly Wurly.