"There is no strategy, federally or provincially, to keep good jobs in Canada. These were good jobs that allowed families to do more than struggle every week, they were jobs you could raise a family on." - James Clancy, NUPGE National President.
Ottawa (11 Dec. 2013) – A mainstay in London, Ontario since 1924 has announced it will be shutting its doors by end of 2014. This move by Kellogg's puts 500 people out of work in an area already hard hit by layoffs and manufacturing closures.
Kellogg's closes Ontario facility while expanding in Thailand
Reports say that Kellogg's will be closing the London facility in addition to one in Australia in favour of expanding the business in Thailand. Bloomberg has reported that last year Kellogg's recorded a net profit of $960-million and is expected to make $1.3-billion in 2013.
The multinational company is based in Battle Creek, Michigan.
Region hard hit by layoffs and closures
In November 2013, the company announced it was cutting 110 workers and laying off 11 managers as the company launched "Project K" which was looking to consolidate production facilities and improve efficiencies.
This closure comes on the heels of another recent shutdown in southern Ontario, with the closure of the Heinz plant in Leamington. After 100 years in operation in the town, Heinz laid off 740 workers, after facility was purchased by a private equity firm owned by Berkshire Hathaway and 3G Capital, a Brazilian investment firm. This closure has serious ripples effects throughout the community, for the farmers and for the businesses dependent on people spending locally. With such a significant cut to the workforce, there will be much less income to invest. Heinz was Leamington's biggest employer, and the second largest in the world.
Before that shutdown it was Caterpillar (Electro-Motive Diesel) in London after a bitter lock out of its workers in 2012 with the employer demanding a 55 per cent cut to wages. The factory closure put 450 workers in the unemployement line.
"This is exactly what happens when a country lacks a modern industrial strategy, " said James Clancy, National President of the National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE). "There is no strategy, federally or provincially, to keep good jobs in Canada. These were good jobs that allowed families to do more than struggle every week, they were jobs you could raise a family on."
Expansion in Thailand signals low wage agenda
The closure of these two Kellogg's plants while the company expands its production in Thailand reveals an ever-increasing multinational agenda of moving work out of countries with labour standards, worker protection and decent wages. Once again, the Ontario government had provided financial resources for the company to expand its facility in Belleville, Ontario but now sees a severe job loss just hours away, in an already struggling region.
"But government refuse to speak up for communities and workers until it's too late, " continued Clancy. "True economic recovery for this country, and workers, lies in governments tackling the big problems and making decisions that put people and nature at the forefront. This can be accomplished by bringing together stakeholders, including labour, to develop a strategy that will help Canadians today and for generations to come."
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 340,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. NUPGE