Union warns of takeover threat to Cadbury jobs

Thousands of jobs will be put at risk if US food giant Kraft takes over Cadbury because of a "colossal" £22 billion of debt which would swamp the chocolate-maker, union leaders warned today.

Unite estimates that 7,000 jobs at Cadbury would be threatened, adding that the interests of the company, its workforce and supply chain would be hit if Kraft pushed through its hostile bid.

Today, the union sent a briefing to all Cadbury investors asking them to put the wider public interest implications of losing Cadbury's independence before the "narrow issue" of share price.

In its briefing, Unite warned that Kraft ownership could see control of Cadbury move from the UK to Illinois, USA, and in the process put at risk 7,000 direct jobs and at least 20,000 more in the wider supply chain.

The union also maintained that Kraft's huge product portfolio, ranging from processed cheese to groceries, was not a good fit with Cadbury, which could have its brand damaged.

Jennie Formby, Unite's national officer for food and drink, urged Cadbury shareholders to resist Kraft's offers, saying: "Cadbury has clearly demonstrated its strength as a stand-alone company.

"Contrast that with Kraft's excessive debt, under-performance and the unacceptable risks this brings for Cadbury and it is hard to see any wisdom in this bid whatsoever."