CCE "disappointed" with strike ballot

CCE "disappointed" with strike ballot

Coca-Cola Enterprises workers in the UK could go on strike during the World Cup in protest at the soft drinks bottler's pay and pension packages.

Coca-Cola Enterprises (CCE) said today (8 June) that it was "very disappointed" after trade unions GMB and Unite said they would ballot workers at all 13 Coca-Cola sites in the UK from 11 June.

If strike action is agreed, the unions plan to try to disrupt Coca-Cola drinks supplies in the country during the latter stages of the World Cup, which runs from 11 June to 11 July.

"We hope to have the ballot result before end of June and industrial action will take place in July while the World Cup, which Coca-Cola are sponsoring, is still in progress," said GMB union officer Alan Costello.

Unions are upset at CCE's pay offer and pension package changes for UK workers, which they claim will mean staff lose a part of their pension if they do not work until they are 65 years old.

CCE said today that it remains hopeful of avoiding strikes.

"We remain in, and are committed to, dialogue with all our employees and with the unions, and we firmly believe this offers the prospect of a constructive outcome – unlike industrial action," said the bottler.

The group said it has offered "competitive" pay rises to workers and that changes to the pension scheme "followed a full consultation process" with unions and workers.

"We have been talking to the unions in detail and frequently over recent weeks," said CCE. "We intend to continue this approach to reach a constructive outcome that addresses current issues and sets a robust framework for future discussions.

"Top of our agenda for discussion with the unions is agreeing the right approach to managing future pay negotiations," the firm said. "The defined benefit pension scheme will remain in place. It will now be more sustainable for the future and remains a very competitive and positive benefit for employees who are members."