CIPD: A voluntary redundancy deal agreed with more than 200 workers at the UK’s Bournville plant has secured the soon to be former staff an average of £100,000 payoff each. The deal, negotiated by union Unite, will see a total of 205 Cadbury employees taking voluntary redundancy and leaving the factory within the next two years with between four and six weeks salary for every year of service.
The deal is part of a £75m investment programme, which was announced by owners Mondelez International last year in a bid to make Bournville more “competitive”.
As part of the plans, equipment will be modernised and new production lines will be added to the plant in Birmingham.
The programme will ensure Bournville’s future is secure for the next 20 to 25 years, said Unite regional officer, Joe Clarke.
“This agreement ensures a £75 million investment programme and rules out compulsory redundancies. While it will see 200 people leaving Cadbury over the next two years, they will do so on a voluntary basis and with average pay offs in the region of £100,000,” he said.
“It is a historic agreement which secures chocolate making at the Bournville site for the next 25 years and sees new pay rates introduced for the additional skills needed for the new plant.”
A spokesman for Mondelez International said talks with the union had gone well: “We are pleased that the consultation with colleagues and their representatives is progressing in a positive and constructive manner.
“From the outset, we have been clear that, to secure the £75 million investment and therefore the next generation of manufacturing here, Bournville will need to become cost competitive.
“During consultation, we agreed that this would mean fewer people working in Bournville in the future than there are today.
“Our preference is always to look for voluntary redundancies to achieve any reductions,” they said.
The investment plans and job cuts were outlined in a document published last year, entitled ‘High Performing Bournville is this for me?’, which informed the factory’s workforce that the “true home of Cadbury” would have to “go through a transformation journey” to compete on an international level.
“In order to move to a High Performing Bournville, we need everyone at all levels to demonstrate a new set of behaviours,” the document read.
“This may require remaining colleagues to move across lines or varied shift patterns – but this will be dialogued as part of consultation and with individuals as required.”
The plant’s 900-plus workers were reportedly invited to answer questions relating to the document to ensure their commitment to the change programme.
“High Performing Bournville will always be striving to be better,” the document concluded.