Kraft apologises for factory u-turn but says no more cuts

KRAFT Foods came under heavy fire from MPs yesterday for raising false hopes about the future of a Cadbury plant as it battled to win control of the British chocolatier.

Kraft had possibly violated the country’s code on mergers and acquisitions after its U-turn on the closure of the Somerdale plant, parliamentarians said in the hearing, creating uncertainty for workers and inflicting reputational damage on itself.

“We never believed Kraft would keep Somerdale open. It was cynical of them to pretend they would,” said Jack Dromey, deputy general secretary of trade union Unite.

Kraft was claiming “ignorance on a massive scale”, added Roger Berry, a Labour member of parliament.

Marc Firestone, the executive vice-president of corporate and legal affairs, told the Business, Innovation and Skills Select Committee investigation into the American food group’s £10.5bn takeover of Cadbury that it was “clear that our reputation requires action more than words”. Firestone pledged there would be “no further compulsory redundancies of manufacturing employees in the UK.”

He also said there would be no further closures of manufacturing facilities.

Firestone was subjected to a two-hour grilling by MPs who accused his firm of “pillaging” the iconic British company.

Meanwhile, MPs also rounded on chief executive Irene Rosenfeld’s decision not to appear.

Brian Binley, a Labour member, called her absence a “sizeable discourtesy”.