Kraft To Cadbury Workers: Leave Pension Plan Or Take Pay Freeze

Mac-n-cheese king Kraft Foods, which acquired British chocolate maker Cadbury earlier this year, isn’t wasting any time when it comes to flexing some American-style corporate muscle. According to the Financial Times, Kraft has warned 3,600 Cadbury employees that they’ll face a three-year pay freeze if they don’t agree to “voluntarily” opt out of the company’s pension plan.

Separately, Kraft announced that CEO Irene Rosenfeld was getting a 40% pay hike this year, due in part to her “exceptional” management of the Cadbury deal. Rosenfeld’s 2009 take will be about $26 million.

The new owners are forbidden from changing benefits in an “unfair or materially detrimental” way. We haven’t quite figured out how threatening to freeze the pay of workers who don’t leave the pension isn’t “unfair or materially detrimental,” but what do we know? We still think chocolate is made by happy Oompa Loompas in factories filled with chocolate rivers and glass elevators.

Cadbury Workers Face Pay Freeze or Pension Opt-Out, FT Reports [Bloomberg]
Cadbury Staff issued with Pension Ultimatum by New Owners Kraft [Reuters]
Kraft CEO Rosenfeld gets 41% hike in 2009; takes home $26.3 mn [Economic Times]