Cereal manufacturer Kellogg has distanced itself from the row over the dismissal of workers at one of its major clients after the union Unite targeted the firm in a bid to draw attention to the dispute.
Unite targeted the Frosties and Rice Crispies maker on Thursday April 5, when workers from client Mayr-Melnhof Packaging (MMP) protested and distributed leaflets outside its sites in Manchester and Wrexham.
But Kellogg has denied any involvement in the row and expressed surprise at Unite’s actions to include it.
A spokeswoman told FoodManufacture.co.uk: “We are not in dispute with Unite. In fact, we have a very good working relationship with the union at our sites across the UK.
“That's why we are surprised to be involved in the protest.”
Norwegian-based MMP currently makes packaging for well-known breakfast cereals, including Kellogg’s Cornflakes and Rice Crispies.
The row was sparked after the closure of MMP’s Bootle factory, near Liverpool, which saw the dismissal of 140 workers.
Unite claimed that it had not been consulted over the decision to close the MMP site and that the decision breached both UK and European legal obligations.
Last week, Mike Thompson, senior organiser at the site, told FoodManufacture.co.uk that, by bringing the issue to the attention to MMP’s clients, the workers were hoping to get a response from the firm.
He said: “We are putting pressure on the company to get it to sit round the table and act as it should be acting.
“Kellogg has signed a number of agreements, as have the major retailers, to ensure it treats its workers ethically. The same should apply to MMP. Our members are absolutely disgusted. Some of the workers have been there for 30 or 40 years and are appalled at the actions.”
Unite regional officer, Phil Morgan described MMP’s behaviour as “shameful” and confirmed that it was looking for support from Kellogg.
He said: “The leafleting of Kellogg, one of MMP’s major clients, is part of our growing campaign to get the company around the table and achieve justice for our members.
“The illegal closure of the Bootle factory is a disgrace.”
Unite has now contacted the Norwegian government, a minority shareholder in MMP, in a bid to secure what it describes as a fair settlement for workers.