Union blasts Kraft on factory closing

Feb. 9, 2010 at 3:27 PM
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BRISTOL, England, Feb. 9 (UPI) -- A British union official said Kraft Foods Inc. was "shameful" in promising to keep a Cadbury factory open, then changing direction at the cost of 400 jobs.

Unite national officer Jennie Formby said the U.S. company was "being very irresponsible to talk about changes at Somerdale," a factory near Bristol, England, that Cadbury had already planned to close before it agreed to a $17.8 billion purchase offer from Kraft last month.

Kraft said it would "be in a position to continue to operate" the Somerdale plant. However, The Times of London reported Tuesday it has learned that Kraft officials changed their minds.

Despite this, a Kraft spokesman said, "we need to review with Cadbury management before making a decision. We are sincere in our intent to keep Somerdale."

Formby, however, said, "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."

In earlier reports, Kraft Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Irene Rosenfeld did not commit to the number of jobs that might be lost with the merger, although Kraft said it would realize savings of $675 million within three years.

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