Unite slams ‘massive arrogance’ of Kraft boss

By Dan Colombini

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Irene rosenfeld, Cadbury

Unite believe Rosenfeld's actions showed a "total disregard" for UK parliament and former Cadbury's staff
Unite believe Rosenfeld's actions showed a "total disregard" for UK parliament and former Cadbury's staff
Unite the Union has slammed Kraft ceo Irene Rosenfeld for failing to appear before a parliamentary select committee and accused her of “massive arrogance” and “a total disregard” for her former Cadbury staff.

The union said it would welcome legislation to force people to appear before select committees if required to do so.

The comments follow calls from House of Commons speaker John Bercow to make changes to the current law which allows reluctant witnesses to turn down invitations to answer MPs questions.

Last week Bercow expressed concern at the actions of high-profile witnesses, such as Rosenfeld, who refused to appear before MPs when requested. He is now calling for the current laws to be updated to compel witnesses to attend hearings.

Controversial

Rosenfeld rejected three requests from the Business Select Committee to give evidence in person following Kraft’s controversial takeover of Cadbury’s last year.

Kraft sparked wide-spread criticism for its U-turn on the closure of Cadbury’s Somerdale factory in Bristol in February last year, resulting in 400 job losses.

Jennie Formby, national officer for the food, drink and tobacco sector at Unite, told FoodManufacture.co.uk: “Irene Rosenfeld has displayed massive arrogance in her total disregard both for the UK Parliament but in particular for her former Cadbury workforce in the UK and Unite would welcome any legislation to make employers more accountable for their actions.

“However, what is really needed is further change to takeover regulations to provide genuine guarantees for workers to ensure they won’t pay for takeovers with their jobs or pay and conditions. There is no point simply being able to compel a ceo to appear before the Select Committee without a sturdy legislative framework to protect workers’ rights and safeguard jobs which is why we need a Cadbury's law now.​”

Hostile takeover

The introduction of a Cadbury’s law was first suggested by experts following the hostile takeover of the firm in a bid to make it more difficult for foreign firms to takeover successful UK public businesses.

The proposals are designed to ensure full disclosure of business plans from the start of any takeover campaign.

The proposed legal changes were considered in a report by the Takeover Panel, which administers the City Code on takeovers and mergers, in October 2010.

Measures recommended by the panel included limiting the time a bidding firm has between expressing an interest and tabling a bid (to stop it destabilising a target), and greater transparency regarding bidders’ plans for target firms' staff and infrastructure.

Formby said: “Since Kraft’s disastrous takeover of Cadbury we have repeatedly made the case for a Cadbury’s law to protect British companies from predatory takeovers by companies where a sometimes reckless pursuit of shareholder value is more important than vital jobs in British manufacturing.​ “

Related topics: Manufacturers, Mondelez International

Related news

Follow us

Products

View more

Webinars