British and Irish Cadbury workers kicked off a campaign to fight a hostile bid from Kraft Foods on Tuesday vowing to pressure the UK government to do what it can to resist the bid.

Union officials and local members of parliament will take their case to business secretary Peter Mandelson on Wednesday to argue that a state-funded bank should not be bankrolling Kraft's 10 billion pound ($16.2 billion) hostile bid for Cadbury.

Cadbury is under threat because it is a highly successful company, and I will do everything I can to keep Cadbury independent. It is not right for RBS to lend to Kraft, local MP Stephen McCabe said at a meeting of around 200 Cadbury workers.

He told Reuters it was reasonable to question why the Royal Bank of Scotland was part of a syndicate of banks funding the Kraft bid and why short-term hedge funds, who have no long term interest in Cadbury, should have so much influence in the bid process.

RBS nearly collapsed last year after a disastrous takeover of Dutch bank ABN AMRO before the UK government came to its rescue, and the state currently owns 70 percent of the troubled institution which is soon to go up to 84 percent.

Another local MP Lynne Jones, who's constituency covers the Bournville chocolate-making site, said she would be part of the team of union officials and local MPs meeting Mandelson to stress the importance of Cadbury staying independent.

We are very confident we can beat off Kraft. We have a huge company which has performed well, why should we allow Kraft to buy it, she told Reuters.

Both MPs from Britain's ruling Labor Party were speaking at the launch of the Keep Cadbury Independent campaign at Cadbury's historic Bournville site in Britain's second city of Birmingham which employs around 2,500 people.

Officials with Britain's biggest trade union Unite said when a predatory company laden with debt looks to take over another there is a irresistible pressure to cut costs so Kraft's move needed to be opposed to protect jobs and working conditions. They are urging Cadbury shareholders to reject the Kraft bid.

This is a fantastic company to work for, it was one of the first to offer employee share save schemes so we can share in its success, said 31-year old Cadbury worker Barry Sherwood.

However, Cadbury chairman Roger Carr warned on Monday he would not be swayed by sentimentality in the takeover battle adding that It is the offer not the bidder that would determine the outcome as he unveiled Cadbury's official defense document.

Carr told shareholders not to let Kraft steal their company with its derisory offer, as he painted a glowing future of faster growth in sales, profit margins and dividends for the maker of Dairy Milk chocolate.

Kraft vowed on Tuesday to maintain its financial discipline in its quest for Cadbury. Its current cash and share bid is worth 729 pence a share against a current Cadbury share price of 791p at 1400 GMT (9 a.m. EST) while analysts say Kraft will need to pay 820p to 850p to win over Cadbury.

($1=.6161 Pound)

(Reporting by David Jones; Editing by Hans Peters)