Unite threatens Coca-Cola bottle shortages in pay row

By Gwen Ridler contact

- Last updated on GMT

Strikes at Alpla UK could lead to a shortage of Coke bottles, warned Unite
Strikes at Alpla UK could lead to a shortage of Coke bottles, warned Unite

Related tags: Packaging, Unite the union, Drinks

Strikes over pay at Wigan-based plastic manufacturer Alpa UK could lead to bottle shortages for drinks firms Coca-Cola and Britvic, warned workers union Unite.

Up to 150 workers at Alpa UK’s Golborne plant will strike during October and November in response to an ‘insulting’ 2% pay offer.

Walkouts will take place on 21 October, 3 November and 16 November, following a 90% vote in favour of strike action in a ballot with a 72.5% turnout.

‘Should offer more’

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: With a turnover of £200m and operating profits of £21mn, Alpla should be offering more than an insulting 2% pay rise to the workers who kept operations flowing during the pandemic.

“Unite will defend our members' jobs, pay and conditions to the hilt. Alpla should table an acceptable offer in order to prevent this dispute causing disruption for its clients.” 

Alpla UK manufactures plastic bottles and containers for customers including Britvic, Coca Cola, PZ Cussons, Johnson & Johnson, Lever, Arla Foods, Core Ingredients, Princes Foods and others. 

Outside of drinks, the strike action could impact supplies of bottles and containers for products such as detergents, and sanitisers and show gels.

‘More strikes to follow’

Richard O’Brien, Unite regional officer, added: “Unite has set three strike dates but unless Alpla returns to the negotiating table with an offer our members can accept there will be more to follow. 

“Alpla’s clients are already facing difficulties because of the lorry driver shortages. They will not be pleased that their extremely profitable packaging supplier is adding to their supply chain woes because it is refusing to offer its staff a reasonable pay rise.” ]

Meanwhile, threats of a nationwide ‘beer drought’ have been quashed, after Unite members working across GXO Logistics Drinks called off strikes in lieu of an improved pay offer.

A pay increase of 4% by GXO was to be voted on by Unite members, which the union recommended they accept.

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