Heat is on for 1,000 Cadbury Bournville plant staff

By Rod Addy contact

- Last updated on GMT

The Bournville factory makes the iconic Cadbury Dairy Milk bar among other products
The Bournville factory makes the iconic Cadbury Dairy Milk bar among other products

Related tags: Factory, Mass production, Industrial revolution

Mondelēz International has stepped up the pressure on the 1,000 factory workers at its Cadbury Bournville site, issuing a booklet outlining what future working practices will look like there.

Staff at all levels have been challenged to change the way they work significantly or see jobs go.

The company announced a £75M investment programme at the plant in January, but with that came the caveat that working practices needed to change there and a warning of job losses.

Local press reports suggest workers have reacted with concern to the document, but FoodManufacture.co.uk understands it is not intended to create alarm, but to promote transparent relations between bosses and the workforce.

Union representatives are discussing the booklet, which has been circulated to all employees and is intended to prepare them for what managers will be expecting of them.

Job losses

Workers were told nine months ago that they could expect job losses alongside substantial investment and automation at Bournville as the factory had to be made more efficient. The company claims it costs double the amount of cash to make a chocolate bar there as it does at other European sites.

A spokeswoman for Mondelēz International told this site in January​: “Yes, there will be increased automation. Realistically there will be fewer people working at Bournville than there are today and the guys in the factory understand that.”

In a statement, Mondelēz International said: Bournville has a proud manufacturing heritage and Mondelēz International is committed to securing the next generation of manufacturing here in Birmingham.

​So, while the employee booklet may be new, the message is the same one we have shared with our employees since we announced the potential £75M investment earlier this year.

‘We have to change’

​Our production costs are double those of sister factories in western Europe and we have to change the way we work to create a modern, flexible, competitive factory. This change, plus our investment, will secure manufacturing at Bournville for the next generation.

FoodManufacture.co.uk further understands no final decision has been made with regard to job losses at Bournville.

Trades union Unite was unavailable for comment as this article was being published.

Cadbury found itself at the heart of controversy after its acquisition in 2010 by Kraft, which then pledged not to close any plants or make compulsory redundancies for two years. It then provoked a heated reaction when it announced plans to close its Somerdale plant near Bristol and cut jobs at Cadbury factories at Bournville, Birmingham, Chirk and Malbrook.

Following a later restructure, Mondelēz International was formed out of the global snack and food brands of the former Kraft Foods, which included the Cadbury ranges and facilities.

Related topics: Confectionery

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