Workers told jobs are safe at Cadbury's Chirk factory

Reporter:

Phil Robinson

JOBS of worried workers at Cadbury’s Chirk factory are safe – for at least the next two years.

Employees have welcomed a statement from their new American boss that their jobs are secure for the foreseeable future.

Following the controversial takeover of the iconic British chocolate firm by US giant Kraft Foods earlier this year, concern was raised about how it easy it was for a foreign competitor to acquire the company.

In the wake of the announcement of the closure of Cadbury’s factory in Keynsham, Bristol, with the loss of 400 jobs, there have also been also fears about the future of thousands of jobs at Cadbury’s UK plants, including Chirk which employs 250 people and is a key local employer.

The House of Commons Business, Innovation and Skills Committee is currently examining the circumstances of takeover and its aftermath, taking evidence from top management and union officials.

In an evidence session this week Marc Firestone, Kraft’s executive vice-president, said: “We can commit that, for a period of at least two years, there will be no further closures of manufacturing facilities in the UK.

“I can also commit that, beyond any programmes that have already been negotiated and announced, there will be no further compulsory redundancies of manufacturing employees in the UK.”

Speaking from Zurich where he is attending a meeting of the European works council, Barry Roberts, Unite convenor at Cadbury’s Chirk factory and chairman of the Unite union within Cadbury’s said: “The statement from Mr Firestone is definitely a step in the right direction and does give some reassurance to the workforce at Chirk.

“However, here in Zurich we are still looking closely into what the announcement means in detail.

“We need to get some further confirmation of what he meant exactly.”

Clwyd South MP Martyn Jones described Mr Firestone’s statement as “very welcome”.

He said: “One always has concerns in a takeover situation that the new owners might try to rationalise factories.

“As Chirk is the only cocoa treatment plant that Cadbury’s has in the UK that it will continue to be safe.”

See full story in the Leader

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