The 200 job losses are set to go from Cadbury’s iconic chocolate-making plant at Bournville, following Kraft Food’s £12bn acquisition of the company in January 2010 .
The US-based company, has said that UK job losses are part of plans which include £50m investment in its chocolate and biscuit manufacturing.
Despite this, 200 jobs will be cut through redeployment and voluntary redundancies over two years from March 2012.
The £50m investment consists of a £6m injection into the firm’s biscuit-making arm in Sheffield, with the creation of 20 jobs to manufacture Oreo and BelVita products.
The remaining £44m will go towards renovating chocolate-making factories in Bourneville, Malbrook in Herefordshire and Chirk in North Wales. Kraft Foods plan to improve infrastructure, reduce waste and improve energy efficiency across the three sites.
Neil Chapman, Kraft’s manufacturing director for UK chocolate, said: “The ambition is for Bournville, Chirk and Marlbrook to remain at the centre of British food manufacturing and of the Kraft Foods network. We continue to invest in our people and facilities, so we can increase productivity and transform our business.”
Mr Chapman added: “Kraft Foods has already designated Bournville its R&D centre of excellence for chocolate. Today’s announcement signals Kraft Foods’ plans for growth across the manufacturing network.”
Ian Dearn, head of manufacturing at the Sheffield plant, said: “It is great that Kraft Foods recognises the strength of the UK as a manufacturing centre. We are proud to have been selected to bring the manufacture of BelVita and world-famous Oreo cookies to the UK for the first time.”
The Unite union’s national officer for the food industry, Jennie Formby, was concerned by the announcement and told of fear over the company’s long-term future. Unite has been pursuing a law to protect Cadbury since the takeover.
Ms Formby, said: “Our view is that if Kraft is investing £44m for the expansion of its UK factories there should be no job losses and we will be strongly pressing for that outcome when we talk to management about this issue in the New Year.”
Ms Formby added: “We are also concerned that the company continues in its refusal to share its mid-to-long term business plans with us and its refusal to say that there won’t be compulsory redundancies in the future.”
“We also deplore Kraft’s tactics of announcing this to the media first without the courtesy of telling the workforce in advance. It is wrong that the first hundreds of employees will hear about the news will be through the media,” she said.