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Council of Canadians, CUPE, Unifor protest Kellogg plant closure in London

The London Community News reports on a rally in London yesterday against the planned closure of the Kellogg’s plant in that community.

London chapter

“The crowd formed up from a number of social justice groups and unions including The Council of Canadians, CUPE, and the Bakers, Confectioners, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers Union Local 154 G, which represents the more than 500 people who will be out of work when the plant closes at the end of this year. Trade Justice London chair Jennifer Chesnut and London and District Labour Council chair Patti Dalton, both London teachers, organized the rally, the second this week to decry more job losses in London after a rally for Canada Post workers took place on Highbury Avenue Monday afternoon (Jan. 27).”

“Though focused on the still-raw wound the Kellogg closure will leave on London’s labour landscape, the event also marked the 20th anniversary of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and included the Forest City with about 50 others around the world in marking the Inter-Continental Day of Trade Action.”

Photos by London Community News and Stewart Wise.

“Ann Slater, vice-president of policy for the National Farmers Union, said southwestern Ontario farmers need food processors and packers like Kellogg to sell high-value grains and produce to, but only if they are locally owned, not a multinational like Heinz. ‘That (grain for Kellogg) was a high value product for local farmers, who will now be pushed into producing soy beans and corn for the export market’, she said. ‘We have to do something. We can’t just lay down and get run over.'”

On December 10, 2013, Battle Creek, Michigan-based Kellogg Co. announced that it would close its processing plant in London by the end of 2014 and cut more than 500 full-time jobs on top of the 100 layoffs it announced the previous month. The company will also be closing a plant it Australia, but expanding its facility in Thailand. In June 2013, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania-based H.J. Heinz company announced it would close its Leamington, Ontario tomato processing plant in June 2014 and end 740 jobs.

The rally was organized by Trade Justice London, Council of Canadians London Chapter, London District Labour Council, and the Latin American-Canadian Solidarity Association.

Please see these reports for updates on Intercontinental Day of Action protests against the Trans-Pacific Partnership, NAFTA and ‘free trade’ in Brampton (where our Peel chapter took part in the protest), Toronto (where trade campaigner Stuart Trew spoke outside the Mexican consulate), and Hamilton (where our chapter took place in a protest earlier this week). Our chapters in Nanaimo, Vancouver, Comox Valley, and Brant also took part in this day of action. For Trew’s blog on the day of action, please see No More NAFTAs! Inter-continental day of action.

Photos by London Community News and Stewart Wise.