Fury as Kraft confirms Cadbury plant will shut

Published:  05 March, 2010

Fury as Kraft confirms Cadbury plant will shut


There has been widespread condemnation at the recent announcement by Kraft that it is to close the Cadbury Somerdale plant, which makes Crunchie and Curly Wurly bars, by the end of the year.

Reacting to the news that the Cadbury Somerdale plant is to close as feared all along by Unite, Jennie Formby, the union's national officer for the food and drinks sector, said: "It is with great anger that we heard the announcement by Kraft that the closure of the Somerdale plant will go ahead as planned. 

"Anger that Kraft deliberately misled many hundreds of decent men and women in Keynsham by saying that they would keep Somerdale open, despite Unite making very clear to them as early as September that this seemed impossible with the timeline for closure already seemingly set in stone.

“Anger that Kraft's thirst for public approval during the most unpopular takeover we’ve seen in recent times drove the company to ignore those warnings and instead choose to state repeatedly that the site would not close.

“Anger that they have ignored repeated requests for meetings and discussions over the future, and anger that even as senior management were on site in Somerdale preparing to make their statement to our members, a Kraft director was assuring Unite that they had not made any decision yet but we would be the first to know.

"This sends the worst possible message to the 6000 other Cadbury workers in the UK and Ireland. It tells them that Kraft cares little for its workers and has contempt for the trade union that represents them."

The Bristol Evening Post reported only last month that Kraft Foods UK and Ireland vice president and managing director Nick Bunker said: "We've said since the start we would invest in British manufacturing jobs. In fact, we offer the best prospects for British manufacturing jobs, because a combined company would be better for factory workers than Cadbury standing alone or being broken up by others.

"Does that mean we will keep Somerdale open? We believe that we would be able to do so. Can we be specific about exactly what this means? Not at this stage, we don't have enough information. But we are sincere in our intentions and clear that we want Somerdale to form part of a combined business going forward."

Kraft said Cadbury had already spent £100 million on building new facilities in Poland and most production would be transferred by the middle of this year. Consequently the US firm said it was "unrealistic" to reverse Cadbury's plans to shut the site at Somerdale.

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