Pay fears for drinks factory staff

By Gwen Ridler contact

- Last updated on GMT

A review of pay scales at Cott Beverages could see skilled workers worse off, claimed a workers' representative
A review of pay scales at Cott Beverages could see skilled workers worse off, claimed a workers' representative

Related tags: Soft drinks, Drink

Pay restructuring at Cott Beverages’ West Yorkshire drinks factory could cut skilled workers’ wages, according to employees at the site.

Workers at Cott’s Bondgate site were told a review of pay scales was underway and would affect all of the 140 production staff at the factory.

The company said the review was to make sure that people employed in similar roles across its business were paid fairly and equally.

However, some workers said the review would see about 40 “multi-skilled” ​workers facing a huge pay cut.

One worker, who wished not to be named, said people were angry and that morale was really low at the plant and employees weren’t being listened to.

‘Going through the motions’

It’s like they’re going through the motions,” ​the worker told TheWakefield Express. “Some of these people have 15 or 16 years of service.”

A Cott spokesman said: “We are currently in consultation with a number of employees at our factory in Pontefract.

“This process is intended to create consistency across our manufacturing and warehouse job roles so that those employed in similar roles across our business are paid fairly and appropriately.”

Cott said that the review was about fairness and not a cost-saving exercise.

“We are currently in consultation with all employees involved – and for that reason – are unable to comment further,” ​the spokesman added.

‘Currently in consultation’

It is unclear if any action will be taken by workers at the Bondgate factory.

Cott runs three bottling facilities in the UK, located in Kegworth in Leicestershire, Nelson in Lancashire and Bondgate.

It owns the Calypso Soft Drinks and Mr Freeze beverage brands. Its main business is producing own-label soft drinks for major retailers.

Meanwhile, further strikes at confectionery manufacturer Tangerine’s York factory are planned, after a breakdown in talks over workers’ pay.

Tangerine’s pay offer – a 1.25% increase backdated to April 2016 – would be “taken off the table”​ if it wasn’t accepted by December 9, according to union GMB.

Related topics: Drinks, Processing equipment

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