Speaking to FoodManufacture.co.uk after Unite union members at the plant voted for action short of a strike, but against full strike action, a GSK spokeswoman said:
“We are committed to resolving this issue and will be inviting union representatives to meet with us in the next few days.
“The difficult decision to implement a pay freeze last year must be understood in the context of the need to protect long-term employment opportunities in this business and ensure that we manage the financial performance responsibly.
“In 2011 we expect to be able to offer pay increases to all our employees at the Coleford site.”
GSK remained committed to Coleford, she insisted: “The site at Coleford remains a key strategic focus for our business and we are committed to its long-term future.
“GSK’s recent £67m investment in the new bottling plant at Coleford – the largest capital investment for the Consumer Healthcare business at GSK – is an example of this commitment.”
Unite was unavailable for comment as this article went to press.
Action short of a strike
More than 200 engineers, analysts, administrators and warehouse staff at the plant (which employs more than 500 staff) were balloted on industrial action from December 22 after six months of pay negotiations failed to generate a pay offer union members were happy with.
The Coleford site, which was built just after the Second World War, makes Lucozade-branded products and Ribena, which is made using huge tanks of blackcurrant concentrate that are held in tanks beneath the factory and bottled as needed throughout the year.
Action short of a strike typically includes working to rule, withdrawing goodwill, not doing work outside your pay grade or job description or not covering other people’s work.