200 jobs to be axed at Kraft


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The Independent Online

Kraft Foods is to cut 200 jobs under plans which include £50 million investment in its chocolate and biscuit manufacturing, the firm said today.

The company, which bought chocolate giant Cadbury, said it will be making "significant investments" across four of its sites over the next two years.

But 200 jobs will be cut through redeployment and voluntary redundancies over two years from next March.

Kraft said its proposals were designed to keep Bournville, the Birmingham-based home of Cadbury's chocolate, at the heart of the industry, and to bring biscuit-making to Kraft in the UK for the first time.

Around £6 million will be invested in biscuit-making at the firm's Sheffield plant, with the creation of 20 jobs, while £44 million will be invested in chocolate manufacturing, benefiting Bournville, Chirk in North Wales and Marlbrook in Herefordshire.

Neil Chapman, Kraft's manufacturing director, 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.

"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.

"We are also excited about the opportunity to create new partnerships with local farmers to supply the wheat for these iconic products."

Kraft said that in March last year, following its acquisition of Cadbury's, it made a series of commitments to employees, including no further plant closures and no compulsory redundancies in UK manufacturing for two years.

The firm said these commitments remained "fully in force" and were not changed by today's announcement.

Kraft was criticised for closing Cadbury's Somerdale factory near Bristol after saying it wanted to keep the site open before the takeover.