The jobs of 400 Cadbury workers are again under discussion after new owner Kraft said it was “reviewing” the future of the closure-threatened Somerdale factory in Somerset.
The US food giant pledged in a statement before Christmas: “As well as investing in Bournville, we want to keep the Somerdale plant open, which Cadbury plan to close.”
But Kraft, which finally won its five-month battle for Kraft last week with a £11.7 billion hostile bid, has now said it needs to review the future of the West Country plant – part of the Cadbury empire since 1936 – with management.
A Kraft spokesman said: “We need to review with Cadbury management before making a decision. We are sincere in our intent to keep Somerdale.”
Jennie Formby, Unite national officer, was due to meet workers at the Somerdale plant to discuss their plight on Wednesday.
“Kraft were being very irresponsible to talk about changes at Somerdale. Some of the workers have had their hopes raised by Kraft management, and if they are going to lose their jobs then that is shameful.”
Reports said Somerdale could remain open with just a skeleton staff, with the majority of the 400-strong workforce leaving between March and June.
Cadbury had originally planned to close the factory this year after switching part of its confectionery manufacturing to Poland.
Kraft chief executive Irene Rosenfeld has already said it could take up to six months before any firm decisions on jobs are taken.
In a weekend newspaper interview, she said: “I can make no promises on jobs because of the nature of the process here.
“We have not had an opportunity to access their books and understand what their assumptions are. But this acquisition is about growth.
“The combined company has greater potential together than apart. We’ll just need three to six months to do proper analyses.”
She said the company had no intention of asset-stripping the Cadbury empire. “It generates enormous recognition and love.”