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Page last updated at 14:08 GMT, Tuesday, 19 January 2010
Cadbury: BBC WM listeners give reaction to Kraft take-over
Broken chocolate bar
Cadbury board back Kraft take-over

When people turned on BBC WM on Tuesday, 19 January, they heard the news that the Cadbury board had recommended shareholders accept the Kraft take-over offer.

On Phil Upton @ Breakfast and later Mornings with Joanne Malin, listeners called the shows giving their comments.

Many callers were saddened by the news and worried about the future of the company.

Others were concerned about what will happen to Bournville and the community.

BBC WM callers comments

Raymond Goodwin kicked off comments: "No, No, No. This is an absolute travesty. The crown jewel of Birmingham has been sold for thirty pieces of silver. I am so disappointed. I just hope Kraft don't move production. We need to keep Cadbury in Birmingham."

Adrian had a gloomy prediction: "Start the countdown. Chocolate manufacturing in Birmingham will cease in the next five years. What will remain of our industrial heritage? A black day for employees and for Birmingham".

Paul phoned in to say his first emotions were shock and upset. "It's a wonderful company, a wonderful plant and wonderful product. It's a profitable company which is not something that can be said for a lot of British companies these days."

Paul reminded listeners of what happened to Terry's in York when that was taken over. Several years later, it's now a derelict shell.

"Shareholders responsible"

Rita, 78: "My heart goes out to all the workers at Cadburys, because I think they're going to lose some of their jobs." Rita went on to say she feels it's the shareholders who have let Cadbury down and that their decisions are made out of greed, and they're not thinking about the best interests of the employees, or the long term future of the company. "Birmingham is suffering again!"

Ian called in to remind people that Cadbury employs 45,000 people - around 40,000 of those are employed abroad, and those workers are probably just as concerned over their jobs.

Chris said he was disappointed but not surprised, and commented that it was the shareholders who had the final decision. He also feared for the long term job security of the workers.

"Another Longbridge and HP"

Malcolm who lives in one of the Cadbury houses in Bournville, phoned in. All of his family have worked at Cadbury and you could hear the passion in his voice. But it raises the question - what will become of the houses and the families that live in those houses?

Mickey said he's angry: "It's another Longbridge and HP. The government have tax and national insurance off the workers, so it's up to them to safeguard the workers." He worked for 20 years at Longbridge before it closed.

Former factory manager

Mark Jones worked for Cadbury for 38 years. He started as a clerk and ended up as factory manager. He became head of manufacturing, looking after the people, the plant and the chocolate.

Mark saw a lot changes over the years. When he started, the company owned many more brands, so he witnessed the selling off of those, and then Schweppes came along. So there's always been movement in the company, but this looks like being the biggest change.

Mark said: "Former colleagues are probably feeling a bit concerned. Cadbury has got such great values and a nice culture. They'll be concerned that might change, but more importantly Kraft may start to cut costs, and cutting costs is cutting jobs, and I think people will be very worried about that."

The future?

Mark also wondered now if the pension scheme would come under American law instead of British law.

Emma runs a cafe in Bournville and says reaction is not good. "It's devastating." Her late nan lived in Bournville and worked at the factory. She recalls being taken to Cadbury World when it first opened. She's concerned that the future of the factory will have a direct impact on her business. They get a lot of visitors to the cafe who've visited Cadbury World.

More reaction including that from Felicity Loudon



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