US ice cream maker Ben & Jerry's has announced that it is to cut a further 52 jobs, amounting to 6% of the company's workforce.

The Vermont-based company announced in May that it was to close two of its Vermont sites and expand a third, entailing 69 job losses.

The restructuring is reported to be in order to bolster the company's leadership position in the increasingly competitive ice cream market.

President and CEO Yves Couette was reported by Reuters as saying that the latest cuts were for the sake of Ben & Jerry's long-term future to help it continue its legacy of social responsibility.

Garret LoPorto, a 26-year-old Internet media company manager and former organiser of the campaign to "Save Ben & Jerry's", argues that the company is not what it used to be: "In just two short years, a very strong brand for [people] who believe in these types of social values and initiatives is now seen as a thin veneer on top of Corporate America as usual."

Two years ago, LoPorto tried unsuccessfully to stop Anglo-Dutch consumer products titan Unilever from taking over Ben & Jerry's.

Ben & Jerry's said it would "continue its tradition of treating employees fairly and with respect" by giving severance packages and transition assistance to those employees who are laid off.