Jacobs roasting plant leaves Vienna

By Rachael Williams

A total of 35 jobs will be slashed when Kraft Foods Austria, soon to be known as Mondolez, transfers its premises from the Austrian capital of Vienna to a new plant in Germany in 2013.

Trade unions have criticised the move as the first consequence of the intra-group split that happened in October 2012.

Director of Kraft Foods Austria Andreas Kutil said: “We very much regret the effects that our decision will have on our employees, but due to changes in consumer behaviour such as the competitive environment and the difficult economic situation we need to adapt.”

For several years coffee surveys conducted in Austria and throughout Europe have shown a growing consumer preference to coffee capsules. The factory located in Penzing in Vienna produced only roasted coffee.

The 35 employees affected have already been informed of the company’s decision and they will work together with the Works Council towards a redundancy agreement. Some of the employees will be offered early retirement whilst others will have the opportunity to switch to the company’s office in Vienna.

Representative of trade union Pro-Go Gerhard Riess said: “Unsurprisingly these changes in the company will be to the detriment of its employees”.

The traditional and profitable company is the first victim in the division of Kraft Food Inc. into Kraft Foods Group and Mondolez International.

This division is an attempt to counteract the financial trouble caused by the company’s takeover of Dananone’s biscuit operations in 2007 and Cadbury in 2010.

Riess said that as a result of takeovers and company restructuring there have been many factory closures and job losses affecting 600 Austrian workers. Riess will hold an employee meeting on 6 November.

The US food giant Kraft Foods, made famous by Milka chocolate and Jacobs coffee, separated into two companies at the start of October 2012.

With the exception of North America the company will be known as Mondolez International and in Austria the company will cease to be called Kraft Foods at the end of April 2013.

The company had created approximately 600 jobs in Austria by the end of 2011 and achieved a turnover of 242.5 million Euro – 154.3 million Euro fom the sales of chocolate and biscuits and 88.2 million Euro from coffee, cheese and other foods. The company’s biggest commodities are still Milka chocolate, Philadelphia, Jacobs Coffee and Oreo biscuits.