The Mail on Sunday

Cadbury staff given pay freeze ultimatum

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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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