Kraft Meeting

Cadbury jobs in Birmingham will be safe for atleast the next two years.

Kraft - who recently took over the Bournville site - say there won't be any more factory closures or compulsory redundancies until 2012.

It's after the American food giant angered workers by going back on its word and closing the Somerdale factory near Bath open - with a loss of 400 jobs.

Marc Firestone, executive vice-president of US food giant Kraft, and Cadbury's president Trevor Bond were repeatedly challenged about their long-term commitment to Bournville as they appeared before the Commons Business Select Committee.

They insisted that they intended to keep production in Britain but stopped short of any specific long-term commitments.

Asked exactly how many years Kraft planned to maintain production at the Birmingham base, Mr Firestone said: "Bournville remains at the heart of the Cadbury business and we intend to maintain it, we intend to invest in it, we intend to ensure that it remains competitive."

Mr Bond also said that the company needed to keep its UK operations "competitive"

Asked specifically whether Cadbury's Dairy Milk would continue to be produced in the UK, he said: "Yes."

Pressed as to how long for, he added: "For as long as our consumers are delighted by the product and the taste that we produce."

Tory MP Brian Binley, a member of the cross-party committee, interrupted: "That simply is not good enough for the workforce."

Fellow committee member Lindsay Hoyle, a Labour MP, said Kraft had made the same promises to Terry's of York before moving production of the Chocolate Orange to Poland.

Thousands of British workers have been left fearing for their jobs after Kraft's multi-billion pound takeover, especially as the American firm changed its mind about keeping open the Somerdale factory near Bath.

The company chiefs today insisted there were no plans to rebrand Cadbury's products.

"We have no plans to rename Cadbury's Creme Egg or Cadbury's Dairy Milk into anything else," Mr Bond said.

"They are great brands that our consumers love, that our factories produce to a really high standard, and we intend to keep up providing consumers with the products and the brands that they love."

Mr Firestone added: "Cadbury will remain the name on the building, that Cadbury will remain the name on the flag."

Unite Deputy General Secretary Mr Dromey told Heart before the meeting:

“Bournville was born out of the great philanthropic traditions of the Cadbury family. Sons and daughters have following mothers and fathers into the factory as generations of Birmingham workers have built Cadburys into a world-class centre of excellence. Kraft should not keep Cadbury workers in the dark. Our members know that Kraft Executives are there – they see them from afar. But no one from the American multi-national is telling them what the future holds.

Kraft must give Bournville and Britain cast-iron guarantees for the future. Investment will be key. So too will be a clear commitment that there will be no factory closures or compulsory redundancies. Parliament and the public will expect nothing less when Kraft appears before the Business Select Committee.

The immediate priority is cast-iron guarantees for the Cadbury workers. We need a new Cadbury’s Law, preventing hostile takeovers which are neither in the public interests or the long-term interests of household-name British companies. Cadbury workers deserve security for the future and then never again should British workers be sold to the highest bidder.”