Page last updated at 13:41 GMT, Saturday, 4 October 2008 14:41 UK

Kellogg's defends C-charge e-mail

Kellogg's
Kellogg's employs about 1,000 people in Greater Manchester

A firm which is against plans for a Manchester congestion charge has defended a "cut and paste" e-mail campaign involving its employees.

A public consultation has begun over plans to introduce a charge, in return for 3bn of public transport funding.

Kellogg's, which employs 1,000 people in Trafford, is one of several firms which have united to oppose the plans.

Its staff have been asked to respond to the consultation with reasons copied from a "No" campaign website.

They were asked in an e-mail sent by communications director Chris Wermann.


We have acted fairly to keep our employees informed

Chris Wermann

He said that Unite, the union operating at the site, was also against the charge on behalf of its members, and he defended giving workers the chance to air their views in this way.

He said: "It is very clear, if people feel it is appropriate to them they have the opportunity to do so.

"It puts them under no pressure as individuals to sign up to this.

"We have acted fairly to keep our employees informed."

Referendum due

But "Yes" campaigners said the move was "astonishing".

A spokesman said: "It is astonishing that a major multi-national company like Kellogg's should tell their staff that the appropriate way to respond to an official consultation is to "cut and paste" their employer's opinions."

Mr Wermann's e-mail stated: "It should only take five minutes to complete and all responses will be accounted for by the invigilators.

"If you would like to follow our position please go to www.stopthecharge.co.uk and you can cut and paste the reasons why you don't feel the scheme is right for Manchester."

The e-mail then asks employees to "make your voice heard" and directs them to the consultation website.

A spokesman for the Transport Innovation Fund (TIF), which is bidding for the charge, said: "The TIF team is perplexed by Kellogg's director, Mr Wermann, and his apparent lack of knowledge on the position within the charging rings.

"We are happy to meet with Mr Wermann at any time to confirm to him that his premises on Talbot Road sit outside the inner-charging boundary and reassure him on any other aspects of the charge's operation."

A Greater Manchester-wide referendum on the issue will be held in December.




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