Kraft to axe 200 Cadbury jobs and invest £50M

By Mike Stones

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Kraft Cadbury plc Kraft foods

Bitter sweet. Unite the union has welcomed Kraft's investment plans but fears for UK jobs
Bitter sweet. Unite the union has welcomed Kraft's investment plans but fears for UK jobs
Cadbury-owner Kraft Foods is to cut 200 jobs while investing £50M in chocolate and biscuit manufacturing.

The firm plans to axe the jobs at its facilities at Bournville, Birmingham, Chirk in Wrexham, north Wales, and Marlbrook in Herefordshire.

Kraft pledged to work closely with employees and their representatives in 2012 and 2013 to minimise the impact through redeployment and a managed voluntary redundancy scheme.

In the same announcement, Kraft promised to open a £6M biscuit line at its Sheffield confectionery plant. This marks its first entry into UK biscuit-making and will create 20 new manufacturing jobs, said the firm.

The Sheffield plant will produce Oreo and BelVita biscuits together with its current production of Trebor, Maynards and Bassetts sweets.

‘Great concern’

But Unite the union’s national officer for the food industry Jennie Formby, said “While we welcome the investment plans, we have great concern about the 200 job losses. We understand that these jobs will be lost through natural wastages, with no compulsory redundancies.

“Our view is that if Kraft is investing £44M for the expansion of its UK factories there should be no job losses. We will be strongly pressing for that outcome when we talk to management about this issue in the New Year.”

The union also condemned what it described as Kraft’s refusal to share its mid-to-long term business plans, rule out compulsory redundancies or warn staff of the job losses.

“It is wrong that the first that hundreds of employees will hear about the threat to their jobs will be through the media,”​ said Formby.

‘Cadbury Law’

“And we are still no closer to a Cadbury Law to defend UK-based companies against predatory purchases,” ​she added.

When Kraft acquired Cadbury in March 2010, it pledged to avoid closing plants or make compulsory redundancies in UK for two years. The firm said this commitment was unaffected by its latest announcement.

The Commons’ Business select committee recently criticised Kraft for refusing to make its ceo, Irene Rosenfeld, available for questioning by MPs.

Meanwhile, Neil Chapman, Kraft’s md UK Chocolate, said: “The ambition is for Bournville, Chirk and Marlbrook to remain at the centre of British food manufacturing and of the Kraft Foods network. We continue to invest in our people and facilities, so we can increase productivity and transform our business.”

Kraft plans to create a global snacks business and a North American grocery business by the end of next year.

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