Mondelez International is set to invest £75m in the Bournville manufacturing site that produces many of its Cadbury confectionery products.
This investment – which would bring in four new production lines – would improve manufacturing capabilities and reduce costs, making the Birmingham site more competitive with the company’s rivals in the confectionery trade and other Mondelez factories.
“There are other manufacturing sites in Europe in a better position to take on more work, and this will enable us to compete more effectively”
Joe Clarke, Unite
Workers union Unite warned that, without the investment, there was a risk production of some lines, such as Cadbury Roses, could be outsourced to Mondelez factories in Europe. Two of the proposed new lines at Bournville would produce assortments, and the other two chocolate bars.
The company said securing the £75m investment was dependent on “a successful conclusion” to an employee consultation announced today that would aim to identify ways to work more flexibly; and invest in staff training and development.
The announcement might result in a reduced headcount at the site, said Unite West Midlands regional officer for food Joe Clarke, but he added the investment would be welcome, and that Bournville could “wither on the vine” if left as it was. “There are other manufacturing sites in Europe in a better position to take on more work, and this will enable us to compete more effectively,” he added.
Clarke said some job losses over the past two years, which have seen a £33m investment in the site, had been achieved through voluntary redundancies.
Mondelez was committed to ensuring Bournville became a world-class manufacturing site, said Mondelez UK manufacturing director for chocolate Neil Chapman. “This investment would secure the site’s future for the next generation. The competitiveness gap we have identified means we are already missing out on important opportunities to grow.”
Mondelez International UK and Ireland president Maurizio Brusadelli added the investment would “strengthen the competitive advantage of the facility on an international level”.