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Lord Mandelson attacks Kraft Foods

Only a week after suggesting that he had negotiated some kind of long-term commitment to Cadbury from its new owner Kraft Foods, Lord Mandelson is today on the attack after the announcement of 400 job losses at a Bristol-based Cadbury factory. The operation will close next year with production transferred to Poland where the cost base is more attractive for Kraft Foods. So why were we given a different impression last week?

Lord Mandelson believes that while Kraft Foods chief executive Irene Rosenfeld admittedly gave no firm assurance about jobs in the UK the indication was that in the long-term there would be further commitment to the UK economy. It would appear that the Business Secretary is particularly annoyed at the fact that Kraft Foods was likely to have known the factory closure was in the pipeline when the meeting was held last week but chose not to mention so.

While in all honesty Kraft Foods has done "nothing wrong" this is not a good start for the relationship between the enlarged Kraft Foods group, including Cadbury, the UK economy, the UK workforce, the unions and the government. After a period of relative calm regarding employment prospects at Cadbury there is concern for the immediate future.

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