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Striking Kellogg’s workers to be sacked as US-based multinational refuses to budge on new contracts

STRIKING Kellogg’s workers in the United States face the sack as the company refused to budge in talks over a new contract today.

The multinational food manufacturing company has decided to dismiss some of the 1,400 staff that led a month-long walkout in a bid to protect jobs.

The move comes after negotiations on a new four-year contract failed to reach a breakthrough after 15 sessions.

“We recognise the hardship that this prolonged strike represents for our employees,” a statement from Kellogg’s said.

The Michigan-based company said it was “left with no choice but to serve the short and long-term interests of our customers and consumers by moving to the next phase of our contingency plans.”

Staff voted in favour of strike action after Kellogg’s threatened to outsource their jobs to Mexico if they failed to accept worse terms and conditions after their contracts expired.

According to the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union (BCTGM) which represents workers at the Michigan plant, 212 jobs were to be axed over the next two years.

Under a new system, Kellogg’s would not offer pensions to new employees, remove cost of living provisions, and make changes to holiday pay and allowances.

The company has a reputation for sacking workers and outsourcing jobs from Michigan. 

In 2016 a number of jobs were outsourced to India while two years later 187 staff were dismissed and replaced by workers in Canada and other US plants.

Kellogg’s locked out 220 workers in Michigan in 2016 as it tried to reclassify their employment status making them “casual” workers to cut costs in salary and benefit payments.

While the National Labour Board ruled the lockout illegal, the decision was overturned by the federal appeals court.

The company made bumper profits of $1.25 billion last year as sales of its cereals grew by more than 8 per cent during the coronavirus pandemic.

Kellogg’s chief executive Steven Cahillane was gifted around $11.6 million in 2020 as they company approved a stock buyback programme.

A group of US Senators headed by former Democratic Party presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders said that the 25 per cent growth in profits “did not occur by accident” in a letter to Kellogg’s bosses.

“They occurred because your employees were on the job, working tirelessly in the midst of a pandemic, providing food security for families across the world,” it said.

The US politicians backed the workers in their dispute, urging Kellogg’s to improve the security and wellbeing of its workers.

But the company remained unmoved by the appeals and the strike action, ploughing ahead with its plans regardless.

Contingency plans are in place to bring in replacement workers to avoid production problems by the sacking of staff, the multinational confirmed.

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