Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Give your arteries a rest: boycott union-busting Kettle Foods

Kettle Foods have employed USA union busters, Omega Training (part of Burke Group) to "dissuade" workers from joining a union. Since the Guardian newspaper reported this last week, there have been campaigns set up on the net such as FaceBook (I joined last week)to attack Kettle Foods decision to bring in a task force of union busters .And these anti-corporate initiatives include a call to boycott Kettle Crisps. .

Kettle Foods are owned by private equity and obviously they want to plunder the workforce pay and conditions. It is their democratic right to have union representation and recognition and Kettle Foods are undermining that right. Private equity operates like predators and who are nothing more than asset strippers. They will certainly fight any attempt of unionisation. Workers were balloted last week and around 40% of these workers are migrants from eastern Europe.

Steve Hart from the trade union, Unite, says: "We are really pleased. In this case we hadn't thought about setting up a website".

Part of The Burke Group's mission statement includes: "We believe that positive employee relations can best be measured as being "union free." " Union free" is a state that is attained by effective leadership through programs and actions that both recognize and nurture the dignity of the individual."

And they have other catchy little numbers such as "union avoidance", "staying union free" and so on but if you try to find out who is on their management committee, you have to be part of their corporation to see the details. Very interesting, obviously not in the public interest to know that information!

It comes across as corporate cuddly speak but scratch the surface it is meaningless guff. It they indeed want to "recognise and nurture dignity" then they should recognise the union. But that would mean relinquishing control and having to accept union organisation. What these scumbags want to see is a compliant workforce without any trade union interference. Their aim is to make the worker feel part of a "family" (funny that, as WalMart like to argue that very thing...) but it is a means to an end. It serves the private equity purpose and I am sure Burke Group have other tricks up their sleeves...

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