We'll strike again unless Coke ups pay, warns Unite

By Elaine Watson

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Unite national officer Unite regional officer Coca-cola Trade union Strike action

We'll strike again unless Coke ups pay, warns Unite
Unite members at Coca-Cola Enterprises’ Edmonton (CCE’s) factory have downed tools again yesterday in the latest in a series of strikes and warned of further stoppages unless the soft drinks firm raises its 2% pay offer.

Unite national officer for food and drink Jennie Formby said industrial action would continue until CCE agreed to “enter into meaningful discussions to try to reach a fair deal”.

More than 100 union members at the plant took part in stoppages yesterday, the day before, and last Wednesday and Thursday, after rejecting the soft drinks giant's offer of a 2% rise in basic pay as "stingy​".

While he accepted that staff at other CCE sites had accepted a 2% offer, Unite members at Edmonton were looking at something "more akin to the real cost of living",​ not least because Edmonton was a particularly successful plant in the Coca-Cola empire, Unite regional officer Wayne King told FoodManufacture.co.uk.

High-performing plant

Both sides had hoped that talks hosted by ACAS (the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service) would lead to a resolution, but this had not proved to be the case, said King.

Edmonton is historically a very high-performing plant and staff feel that their achievements are not being reflected through this pay offer,"​ he said.

In a recent ballot of union members at the plant, 82% voted in favour of strike action and 91% supported action short of a strike, said King. Unite represents more than 110 members of the 150-strong workforce at the plant, which produces around 2m bottles every day.

Coca-Cola Enterprises said the stoppages had not impacted customer service, and that contingency plans were in place to ensure that this remained the case.

"We can confirm that short stoppage industrial action is taking place at our Edmonton site today. This is disappointing as we remain open to further dialogue with all our employees and the union.

"We continue to believe this offers the prospect of a constructive outcome, and that the pay offer we have made is fair in the current climate."

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