Case study: Cadbury made life sweeter for workers

Housing and education were key features of the employee benefits package at Cadbury Brothers in 1952, thanks to founder John Cadbury’s sons.

In 1861, Richard and George Cadbury took over management of the Cadbury factory on Bridge Street, Birmingham, and began to take an interest in employees’ welfare. They created a new factory outside Birmingham, which they named Bournville, which became known as ‘the factory in the garden’.

In 1895, the brothers built housing for their workforce, which turned into the Bournville Village Trust in 1900.
Young staff attended the Bournville Day Continuation College for one day a week until they were at least 18 years old. Cadbury-funded scholarships were available on graduation.

Shop committees were the first point of contact for employees’ work-related issues, except wages and hours, which were negotiated by trade unions.

Savings vehicles included the Bournville Pension Fund, into which employers and staff made contributions. There was sick pay of up to 90% of base wage, and Workers’ Funds available for prolonged illness. A Dependant’s Provident Fund paid a lump sum to the next of kin if a male worker died under the age of 65.

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