Kraft pledges redundancy freeze after Cadbury site closure apology

Kraft has pledged that there will be no compulsory redundancies at Cadbury manufacturing sites for the next two years, after apologising for reneging on a pledge to keep the UK firm’s Keynsham plant open.

Giving evidence to MPs today, Marc Firestone, vice-president of Kraft Foods, said he was “terribly sorry” for the US food company closing the Somerdale plant in Keynsham, despite vowing not to before the £12bn takeover was completed.

Firestone said Kraft stood “100% behind” Somerdale workers and would do all it could to help them find new jobs, reports the BBC.

He also pledged there would be no further closures of manufacturing sites in the UK, and no further compulsory redundancies in manufacturing in the UK in the next two years.

Kraft only decided to close Somerdale when it found out that Cadbury had already spent tens of millions of pounds kitting out a factory in Poland, according to Firestone.

He said there was no way Kraft could have known about Cadbury’s investment in Poland, as the information was not in the public domain and the two companies were not talking with each other during the hostile bid.

But the committee of MPs said they found it hard to believe that Kraft could not have known the full extent of Cadbury’s investment in its new Polish factory.

Jack Dromey, deputy general secretary of the Unite union, who also gave evidence to the committee, said the MPs proved that Kraft had “lied”.

“Six thousand Cadbury workers will never trust Kraft’s chief executive officer Irene Rosenfeld unless she personally meets the workers and guarantees investment, no factory closures or compulsory redundancies, and that their pay and pensions are safe for five years,” he said.

“The all-party select committee forced Kraft to take stumbling steps in the right direction, but the company needs to go further and agree a five-year guarantee to rebuild trust.”

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