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Mondelez Must Reassure Workers

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

 

Union demands job security for UK workers making Cadbury Fingers and Maryland cookies.

The chocolate giant who messed with the Cadbury Crème Egg recipe and pulled apart Toblerone’s treasured triangles must reassure UK workers their jobs are safe, according to GMB.

US company Mondelez has completed a takeover of the license to make Cadbury's biscuits from Burton’s Biscuits, in Edinburgh. [1]

GMB members in the facility help create some of the UK’s favourite biscuits including Maryland cookies, Viscount, Royal Edinburgh Shortbread and Cadbury Fingers.

Mondelez (previously Kraft) has a track record of reneging on agreements - they closed Cadbury’s Somerdale factory near Bristol [2], changed the Crème Egg recipe [3] and moved Dairy Milk production to Poland. [4]

If they decide to shift biscuit making overseas - and their recent history worldwide suggests this is strong possibility – hundreds of UK jobs could be lost.

Theresa May promised any takeovers of UK businesses by foreign companies would only be given they nod if they benefit British industry.

During her leadership launch speech in July, the Prime Minister said “a proper industrial strategy wouldn’t automatically stop the sale of British firms to foreign ones, but it should be capable of stepping in to defend a sector”. [5]

And at the Lord Mayor's banquet she said the “government cannot afford to take a hands-off approach”. [6]

However her ministers have taken a more relaxed line in Parliament.

Margot James, from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, was asked when the secretary of state was made aware of the further takeover of the Cadbury's biscuit licence by Mondelez, and if he had met with any of the companies involved.

She rather evasively replied: “This is a commercial matter for the parties concerned. I have had no such meetings.”

Eamon O’Hearn, GMB National officer, said:

"Staff at Burton’s work extremely hard to make some the UK’s best-loved biscuits and our members deserve to know their jobs are safe.

“Mondelez has a history of broken promises - and we have no idea what their commitment is to production in the UK.

“They need to come out and tell us exactly what their plans are for our members working for Burton’s making Cadbury's biscuits.

“And Theresa May must stand by her pledge to protect British businesses from foreign takeovers.”

Bill Esterson, Shadow Minister for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, said:

"It is remarkable that the government says the takeover is a commercial matter when it will affect thousands of British jobs and the wider economy.

“The government claims it supports an industrial strategy, which should mean being partners with business and the trade unions.

“The Secretary of State should meet the GMB and listen to their concerns, and he should meet Mondelez. Foreign investors are vital to the success of our economy but they should not be breaking promises made to the British people.

“The government has a duty to safeguard the interests of the British workforce."

ENDS

Notes to editors:

Contact: GMB press office on 07958 156846 or at press.office@gmb.org.uk

[1] http://www.just-food.com/analysis/what-next-for-mondelez-and-burtons-after-cadbury-licence-deal_id134222.aspx

[2] http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/8507780.stm

[3] https://www.theguardian.com/business/2015/jan/12/shellshock-cadbury-comes-clean-on-creme-egg-chocolate-change

[4] http://www.telegraph.co.uk/food-and-drink/features/secrets-of-cadbury-has-britains-beloved-chocolate-maker-lost-its/

[5] http://www.ukpol.co.uk/2016/07/11/theresa-may-2016-speech-to-launch-leadership-campaign/

[6] https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/pm-speech-to-the-lord-mayors-banquet-14-november-2016

Picture copyright No Frills

 

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