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Unions set to take on Kraft Foods

With the ink barely dry on the Kraft Foods acquisition of Cadbury, unions representing the Cadbury workforce are set to take on the company's new owners. In what are sure to be tense exchanges next week it is believed that unions will ask for "above inflation pay rises" for the company's 6,000 staff. There will also be a specific request to ensure that historic Cadbury working practices are maintained and payments for irregular hours and other benefits are not reduced.

It is believed that the unions will use the forthcoming general election as a springboard to extract as much money as possible from Kraft Foods in the knowledge that the UK government, and other political parties, will need to back such a request. This would place immense political pressure on Kraft Foods in what would be the first real test of the company's reported intent to retain a significant part of Cadbury's operations in the UK and "look after" the company's employees.

Whether Kraft Foods will react to this sabre rattling by the unions remains to be seen because this is a company which remain focused and unmoved by rumours and counter rumours during the Cadbury takeover saga - eventually securing what many believe to be a "competitive" purchase price for the operation.

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