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Strike action threatens supplies of Coca Cola

By Gwen Ridler

- Last updated on GMT

Stike action threatned to cause disruption at CCEP Wakefield Image Credit: Getty, vasiliki
Stike action threatned to cause disruption at CCEP Wakefield Image Credit: Getty, vasiliki

Related tags Drinks

Strike action at Coca-Cola Europacific Partner’s (CCEP’s) Wakefield site threatens to disrupt supplies of the drinks firms’ most famous brands this summer, claims Unite the Union.

Workers are planning 13 days of strikes between Thursday 8 June and Thursday 22 June after pay talks broke down with management.

The Union described the pay deal – what it claimed amounted to an average 6% increase – offered workers a ‘real terms pay cut at a time when inflation was still booming.

Hundreds of workers at the site, reportedly the largest soft drinks plant in Europe, voted in favour of industrial action by a margin of 87%.

Pay offer falls flat

Unite regional officer Chris Rawlinson said: “Coca Cola’s pay offer has fallen flat. The vast majority of the workforce have joined Unite to fight for fair pay.

Now a series of strikes will inevitably shut down the production of Britain’s favourite soft drinks, including Coca-Cola. But Industrial action can still be avoided at Europe’s biggest soft drinks plant if bosses realise that they must pay workers a fair wage.”

CCEP Wakefield can produce 360,000 cans per hour, and 132,000 bottles per hour. Brands produced at the plant include Coca Cola, Diet Coke, Dr Pepper, Fanta, Monster and Schweppes.

A spokesman for CCEP previously told Food Manufacture ​it hoped to find a resolution and that it was preparing robust contingency measures, but was confident that there would be no disruption for its trade customers.

Competitive in the marketplace  

“In the current economic climate, we believe the pay rises that we are offering are very competitive within the marketplace,"​ said the spokeman. "We also provide substantial additional benefits and bonuses to our colleagues, altogether this is an average total package of £46,900 for a colleague at Wakefield.”​

“We have also made a £1,000 payment to all frontline colleagues in the past twelve months to support the current cost of living challenges. We have a strong track record of supporting colleagues at our Wakefield site, allowing them to build their skills and develop their careers in a hi-tech, modern manufacturing operation, where we have invested more than £100m in the past five years alone.”

Meanwhile, Unite members at Edrington Distillers accepted a 12% pay rise over the course of the year to end a dispute over new shift patterns and unsociable hours.

Related topics People & Skills Drinks

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