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Fight Cadbury's factory closure
Workers at the Cadbury-Schweppes factory in Keynsham near Bristol have been left stunned by the appalling news that the entire plant will close by 2010 with the loss of 500 jobs. Unions estimate that the closure may cost the local economy £26.4 million a year and indirectly destroy another 600 jobs.
Although clearly a profitable factory whose workforce exceeded their output targets last year, the parent company is looking to chop 7,500 jobs worldwide and so the decision has been made to transfer Keynsham's production to Poland.
The best that workers have been offered is the remote prospect that some of them may be able to redeploy to Bourneville, yet that plant too is earmarked for 200 redundancies.
Management wring their hands and say they have no choice if they are to remain competitive. They plead that "their ongoing commitment to manufacturing in the UK is absolute".
But by chasing the temptation of cheaper labour costs they demonstrate once again that their prevailing loyalty is to shareholders and banks.
Cadburys may once have been associated with Quakerism, but the lure of profit has always been their real religion.
A fightback must therefore be waged. The trade union Unite has begun to ballot for industrial action and now needs to move swiftly in order to turn anger into an effective campaign to force the bosses back.
Without that, a lengthy period of insecurity will follow for many workers.
The worsening economic climate may well see unemployment figures creeping up over the next couple of years and few new jobs will spring up in Keynsham to replace these threatened posts.
As one worker accurately commented: "Some accountant has looked at the size of this huge brownfield site and realised the development potential for housing worth millions."
It's now time to give that accountant a headache and the Cadbury chiefs a wake-up call that the workforce here will fight all the way for their jobs and their futures.
In The Socialist 25 October 2007:
Campaign for a New Workers Party
Socialist Party feature
International socialist news and analysis
Socialist Party women
Socialist Party news and analysis
Workplace news and analysis