Coca-Cola and Unite agree Edmonton strike ceasefire

By Ben Bouckley

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Trade union Strike action Cce

Coca-Cola and Unite agree Edmonton strike ceasefire
A temporary ceasefire has been called at CCE’s Edmonton bottling plant, with trade union Unite calling off strike action ahead of talks to resolve an ongoing pay dispute.

Production at CCE’s Edmonton factory has been disrupted since mid-September as striking Unite members – 100 of the 150 staff on site – downed tools every Wednesday and Thursday in protest at the firm’s “stingy” ​offer of a 2% pay rise.

Unite regional officer Wayne King told “There is further action planned for the next few weeks, but strikes have been postponed this week.”

King said this was because he believed CCE had shown some willingness to move towards an agreement:“We’ve organised a November 1 meeting with the company to discuss pay and other factors affecting staff.”

CCE had insisted that its offer of a 2% rise in basic pay for Edmonton staff was “fair in the current climate”​ but a spokesperson said this morning:

"CCE remains open to further dialogue with all our employees and the union with regards to the local dispute over pay at our Edmonton site…and we continue to believe that dialogue offers the prospect of a constructive outcome.

"CCE has plans in place which ensure that any industrial action does not disrupt the high quality of service we always aim to deliver for our customers."

Europe-wide action

As the Edmonton dispute continues, CCE faces protests today across Europe, organised by a number of trade unions protesting against the firm’s wider restructuring plans that will see 120 UK jobs lost but 130 new posts created.

Unite members at CCE’s seven UK plants, including Edmonton, will demonstrate today outside sites, in protest about alleged lack of workforce consultation for plans; they also believe that only lower paid roles will replace jobs lost.

Jennie Formby, Unite national officer for food and drink said:“Unite is demanding that Coke thinks again. As a very minimum there must be a guarantee of no compulsory redundancies and permanent pay protection for all displaced workers.

“Coke must start to engage fully in meaningful consultation about making sure our members don’t pay the price for changes that will further benefit this phenomenally profitable company.”

‘Committed’ to consultation

A CCE spokesperson said that planned British restructuring targeted a “single, consistent way of working” ​across sites in Britain, Belgium, Holland and France to ensure a competitive business model and growth.

They added: "No decisions have yet been made, and we are now in consultation with employee representatives. If implemented the changes would impact seven sites in Britain.

“The proposed changes could result in up to an estimated 120 roles being at risk of redundancy in Britain. However, 130 new roles and other development opportunities would also be created.

"We are committed to meaningful consultation throughout this process and will seek to manage and mitigate the impact on our people wherever possible."

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