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Strike action called off at Suntory factory

By Gwen Ridler

- Last updated on GMT

Further strike action at Suntory Beverage & Food’s factory in Gloucestershire has been called off. Image: Getty
Further strike action at Suntory Beverage & Food’s factory in Gloucestershire has been called off. Image: Getty

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Workers at Suntory Beverage & Food’s factory in Gloucestershire have called off strike action after securing a new pay deal with the manufacturer.

Unite the Union members at the plant downed tools for seven days earlier this month​ in a dispute over pay, with more industrial action planned to start today (28 February) if their demands weren’t met.

More than 180 members of the union have now called off planned strikes in light of fresh talks with Suntory and an improved offer was made.

Pay negotiations

Commenting on the conclusion of the strikes, Karl Ottomar, supply chain director at Suntory Beverage and Food GB&I, said: “Suntory Beverage and Food GB&I has reached an agreement with our union and employee representatives. This pay negotiation agreement represents a generous offer to our employees and cements our position as a top employer in the region.

“We’re pleased that our focus can now be directed to strengthening our customer service and producing our iconic Lucozade and Ribena drinks in the heart of the Forest of Dean.”

Unite has secured a 5.5% pay increase for its members, backdated from April 2023, meeting Suntory’s previous commitment to review a pay if inflation exceeded 5% between January and June 2023.

Bargaining table

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “The unity of our members was critical. Once Suntory saw that members were not prepared to budge it returned to the bargaining table with an improved offer.

 “This result again demonstrates how Unite is actively delivering improvements to the jobs, pay and conditions of our members.”

Unite will return to the negotiating table again in April in order to address issues pertaining to workers’ shifts following a recent change by Suntory, as well as a 2024 pay increase.

Unite regional officer Michael Hobbs concluded: “The cost-of-living crisis is hard to navigate so this pay increase provides much needed support during a difficult economic period.

“Despite this agreement there remains several issues of major concern for our members at Suntory and Unite will be addressing them during forthcoming negotiations.”

Related topics People & Skills Drinks

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