Kick in the sweet teeth for ex-staff
By Western Daily Press | Tuesday, August 20, 2013, 05:00
Thousands of pensioners who worked at Cadbury have lost out on an unusual pension perk.
The American food giant that bought the iconic chocolate firm has been attacked for axing traditional Christmas chocolate hampers for former employees in a bid to save costs.
Cadbury was controversially bought by US food giant Kraft in 2010, which immediately reneged on pre-takeover promises to save jobs at Somerdale, near Keynsham.
Campaigners feared the British institution would be "wiped out" following the takeover of the 108-year-old company.
And it has emerged one tradition, which has been within the firm since it's early days is to be stopped altogether.
For years, loyal workers who left the firm were rewarded for their service with boxes of chocolates and biscuits at Christmas.
But now Kraft bosses have decided to stop rewarding the 14,000 pensioners with the festive bundles as part of cost-cutting measures.
The move comes despite Kraft chief executive Irene Rosenfeld being paid £18.9 million last year following a 31.5 per cent pay rise.
Ms Rosenfeld also received a £6.6 million bonus for splitting the group in two firms – Mondelez and Kraft.
Angry ex-employee Ray Woods, 63, who worked at Cadbury's main Birmingham plant in Bournville for 36 years from 1968 before leaving in 2004, said he believed the old Cadbury has been lost forever.
He said: "The cost of this cutback is peanuts. To link it with plugging the gap in the deficit in the pension fund is laughable.
"It was a way of somebody taking the trouble to say 'you worked for Cadbury for a long time.'
"It's tinged with sadness for me, and I think that a lot of people will think the same way.
"Anything that purported to be the old Cadbury is being wiped out."
Another current employee of the firm, who did not wish to be named, said: "The Cadbury as we know it is dying out and it's not a happy place to work anymore."
In a letter to pensioners, Mondelez UK president Maurizio Brusadelli told former workers: "We are facing growing pressure on costs and need to focus the Pensions Team on what matters most – administering your pensions.
"We regret to inform you that, in light of this, a decision has been taken to end the Christmas parcel this year and replace it with a gift voucher for £15."