The Mail on Sunday

Cadbury staff given pay freeze ultimatum


CADBURY employees have been told by the company’s new American owners that their pay will be frozen for three years unless they agree to opt out of the firm’s finalsalar­y pension scheme.

Kraft Foods, which bought the 200-year-old chocolate maker for £11.6billion after a bitter takeover battle, has told 3,500 of its UK workers that their pension arrangemen­ts are unaffordab­le.

Kraft cannot close the finalsalar­y scheme because of a clause in the Cadbury pension trust deed that it discovered after the buy-up. Instead, it has told members they must either leave it voluntaril­y or accept a pay freeze until 2013.

After winning the battle for Cadbury, Kraft chairman and chief executive Irene Rosenfeld was awarded a £17.2 million pay and bonus rise in recognitio­n of her ‘commitment to financial discipline’. She also benefited from a £3million increase in the value of her pension.

Unions have accused Kraft bosses of breaking promises by shutting a Cadbury plant near Bristol and transferri­ng production to Poland.

Critics of the takeover, which was finalised in January, have said a British company with such a proud history of independen­ce should never have been allowed to fall into the clutches of an American corporatio­n.

Felicity Loudon, greatgrand­daughter of George Cadbury, who built up the firm, said her ancestors would be ‘turning in their graves’ if they knew Cadbury was being bought by a group that ‘makes cheese to go on hamburgers’.

Cadbury closed its finalsalar­y pension scheme to new members in 2001, but more than half of its 6,000 UK employees remain in it.

A Kraft spokesman said: ‘Cadbury had already started discussing changes it needed to make to its pension scheme last year.

‘We remain committed to providing attractive pension arrangemen­ts for employees over the long term but they have to be affordable and sustainabl­e.’

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