Union holds talks with Kraft regarding Cadbury bid

Posted by Daniel Palmer on 26th November 2009

UK union bosses representing workers at Cadbury have held “constructive” talks with US food giant Kraft Foods today (25 November) following the company’s hostile takeover bid for the Dairy Milk maker.

Unite, one of the UK’s largest unions, met with executives from Kraft in a bid to gain assurances over jobs, pensions and working conditions for staff should the company be successful in its GBP9.8bn (A$17.6bn) bid for Cadbury.

Jennie Formby, Unite’s national officer for the food industry, told just-food: “It was constructive, although I can’t say that they were able to say anything more specific to us. Kraft said that ‘effectively because of the hostile bid, Cadbury hasn’t even opened its arms to us let alone their books’ – and that they hadn’t got enough information to enable them to give us very specific commitments along the lines that we’ve been requesting.”

However, Formby added that talks with Kraft over its possible plans to reverse Cadbury’s decision to close its Somerdale sweet factory were “clearer”.

“[Kraft] were far clearer I think than in the generic statements that have been made in that they have an intention to maintain a manufacturing facility there. They said that several times. That could be for some time in the future but they didn’t say.”

However, she added: “But maintaining the ability to manufacture is not the same as saying we will come in and reverse Cadbury’s decision and the situation itself.

“They certainly wanted to hear what we had to say and they said they would take that seriously. But this story is not just about Kraft. There are any number of companies that are also interested and we will have the same conversation with every one of them.”

Italian confectioner Ferrero and US based Hershey last week announced they are considering making bids for Cadbury.

Kraft’s bid currently values Cadbury shares at 722 pence.

Kraft was unavailable for comment when contacted by just-food today.

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