Chris Croft's Personal Blog

March 16, 2010

Disgusted of Keynsham

Filed under: News and Politics — chriscroft @ 10:34 pm

I’ve got a personal connection with the Cadburys factory at Keynsham, known as Somerdale, because it’s where I have been doing my Project Management courses for Bath Council for a few years now.

It was a welcome ray of hope when Kraft said they might keep it open (only ‘might’, I don’t think they ever promised it) and a real shame that it’s still going to close.  It looks as if Kraft made this half promise in order to smooth the unpopular take over, and now that they have got Cadburys they can carry on with the original plan to close the place (made by Cadburys, remember) so that the chocolate can be made slightly cheaper in Poland, (though not as cheaply as planned since the recession has made the UK almost as cheap as Poland now, and the Keynsham land is not as valuable to sell any more).

But what’s made me write this is the angry grilling given to the Kraft representative, Marc Firestone, today.

a) Kraft didn’t send anybody senior, just some PR bod, who was probably paid loads to go over to the UK and soak up the shit.

b) After a day of words, nothing has changed.  Maybe we feel better for having seem them let off some steam on our behalf, but that’s not worth much in the long run.  Do the apparenlty angry politicians really care?  In fact, why should they, it doesn’t really affect them.  They just have to look as if they do.

c) Kraft have promised not to close anywhere else for two years.  Only two years!  It’ll take them that long to decide what to close and get it organised, so we gain nothing from that promise.  they probably would have left it that long anyway, just for PR reasons if not for logistical ones.

So what have we got – a bunch of hot air and worthless promises.  What was the point of that?  Either the English politicians were fooled by Kraft, who are just carrying on doing what they planned and soaking up the temporary flak, or the politicians knew it was just a charade for us the public.  Either way, what a load of crap!

Cadburys – old baddies

Kraft – new baddies

Politicians – fooled, or manipulative

I suppose we should expect this sort of thing by now…

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5 Comments »

  1. Not sure whom you are angry with. Kraft and Cadbury are the same as each other, and if things stop making money they will be stopped. I THINK your frustration is with the media and the politicos, yes?

    Comment by Martin Herrington — March 20, 2010 @ 1:11 am

    • yes, the media have been hopeless – they have made Kraft out to be baddies relative to Cadburys, when they are both just commercial companies doing their thing. And then the politicians have made themselves out to be the good guys, campaigning for us the workers, when in fact its’ all noise and they probably know it will have no effect. And the media have gone along with that, failing to point out that it’s having no effect and is probably just a cynical ploy.

      What do you reckon? (over there on the other side of the Pond)

      Comment by chriscroft — March 20, 2010 @ 1:29 pm

      • Well I was hoping it would mean better access to a more diverse chocosphere over here, but it turns out that the Cadbury’s confectionery is anyway under license to Hershey in the US – and what incentive do THEY have to drive sales of core Cadbury’s lines?.

        I visited Kraft last week. They think the biggest value in the Cadbury’s deal may be that Cadbury had distribution in India and a lot of other developing countries where Kraft is historically weak.

        Comment by Martin Herrington — March 25, 2010 @ 5:58 am

  2. There was a Radio 4 documentary about it. (http://www.guardian.co.uk/tv-and-radio/2010/mar/18/cadbury-is-our-longbridge). It is interesting to take it back to the Quaker days of the Fry family who previously owned the site and who wholeheartedly assumed the responsibilities of employer in the widest sense – in total contrast to this betrayal. I totally agree – the lead time for this decision to close it down must have predated the “promise” to keep it open.

    Comment by semanteme — March 27, 2010 @ 7:32 pm

  3. They are both as bas as one another playing with the lives of all the workers at Somerdale.

    What worries me is what will happen in Poland when the standard of living increase so hte nthe wages go up and will be no more cost effective as before.

    Will Kraft then look for another 3rd world country to move the Poland factory as it will be too expensive to make chocolate there.

    The only reason Caburys directors took Krafts offer was just pure greed mega payoffs etc, with no thoughts of the workers who had been loyal and hard working to build up the brand of Cadburys over the last 100 years etc. the Quakers most be turning in their graves to see what has happen to the legacy they built!!

    Comment by mark — April 13, 2010 @ 11:06 am


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