21 January 2010 Edition

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Kraft takeover of Cadbury's leaves bad taste

Cadbury’s factory in Coolock

Cadbury’s factory in Coolock

FEARS for more than 1,200 jobs at Cadbury plants in Ireland after the household name in chocolate was swallowed up by US giant Kraft Foods in a €13 billion takeover this week have been raised by trade union Unite.
The union says the news on Tuesday marked “a very sad day for Irish manufacturing and a great traditional company”.
Cadbury has manufactured in Ireland for 75 years and has three plants, in Coolock and Tallaght in Dublin and Rathmore in Kerry.
Cadbury, the world’s second biggest confectionery company behind Mars, also produces chocolate bar brands Crunchie, Fudge, Flake and Wispa. It now employs 45,000 staff in 60 countries, including over 1,200 Ireland.
Cadbury sells more than 250 million bars every year in 33 countries around the world.
Unite said the continued exclusion of workers and key shareholders from the takeover consultation means its concerns for Cadbury’s future and the future of nearly 7,000 workers in Britain and Ireland very much remain.

Jimmy Whelan, European Co-ordinator for Unite members in the Cadbury’s workforce, speaking at the Coolock plant on Tuesday said:
“This is a very sad day for Irish and European manufacturing. A successful, iconic, independent brand will now be owned by a giant company with massive debt.
“We have very real fears about how Kraft will repay its debt, particularly as it has ratcheted it up still further in order to purchase Cadbury.
“Whatever good intentions Kraft may have towards Cadbury’s workforce, the sad truth is there will be an irresistible imperative to pay down their debt, and this raises real fears for jobs and investment in this country.”
The trade union figure said there are “huge lessons” to be learned from this takeover.
“Short-term City interests and institutional shareholders have dictated this process from the outset with little thought to the impact this sale will have on jobs, the supply chain or Cadbury’s future.”
Jimmy Kelly, Irish Regional Secretary of Unite, said the union will now be seeking urgent meetings with the senior management of both Kraft and Cadbury seeking guarantees over jobs and sites in Britain and Ireland “to put our members’ fears at rest”.

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