H&K to defend Kettle Foods over union allegations

Kettle Foods this week called in Hill & Knowlton to protect its bruised reputation following a widely criticised attempt to dissuade its workers from unionising.

The upmarket crispmaker has taken a battering following the disclosure in The Guardian last week that it called in US ‘union busters’ Omega Training to convince factory workers not to join the Unite union.

The snack producer now faces consumer threats to boycott its products.

Two groups, Boycott Kettle Crisps For Attacks On Workers and Boycott Kettle Crisps: The Anti-Trade Union Snack, have been formed on Facebook, att­racting more than 500 members.

Campaigners are calling on shop owners to stop ordering Kettle Foods’ popular crisps, which are made from sunflower oil and are therefore relatively healthy compared with rival brands.

A staffer at Hill & Knowlton’s London office confirmed that the agency had been brought in ‘on a reactive basis’ by Kettle Foods, the parent company of upmarket crisp brand Kettle Chips.

Hill & Knowlton announced on Tuesday that Omega Training is no longer employed by Kettle Foods.

As PRWeek went to press, Kettle Foods was set to announce the verdict on unionisation.

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