The future of the Suchard chocolate-making plant in Strasbourg, which employs 380 staff, is under threat from parent company Kraft Foods’ policy of gradually reducing output, staff unions claim.

At the start of the year, Kraft Foods unveiled plans to reorganise and simplify its European operations.

“The plant’s production is being steadily run down until the day comes when the management announces a restructuring plan or the closure of the site,” a union source said.

In 2005, Kraft Foods France had closed three production sites in France, two in Strasbourg and one in Le Havre with the loss of 75 jobs, the source added. “These closures followed the same pattern – the steady decline in output followed by the re-location of activity outside of France.”

Kraft Foods’ European restructuring plans make provision to combine the company’s Western Europe and Eastern Europe regions into a single European Union management structure. Kraft has identified three core categories – cheese & dairy, chocolate and coffee – which will be managed and developed centrally across the EU.

Following consultation with the Works Council, specific plans regarding the impact on the number of jobs in each country would be finalised and announced, the company said at the time.