Comment

Comment - Coca-Cola Enterprises prepares for Europe-wide union action

Most popular

Why Diageo is winning the Tequila race

Will Diageo earn its gin wings with Aviation?

Spirits brand owners and their green efforts

The just-drinks Analyst returns - Feb '21

Moet Hennessy Performance Trends 2016-2020 - data

MORE

As trade unions prepare for an EU-wide day of action against Coca-Cola Enterprises (CCE), just-drinks examines how much pressure unions can put on the soft drinks bottler.

//i4.progressivedigitalmedia.com/1/coca-cola-ent.jpg

Union-affiliated workers at CCE across the EU are expected to hold a day of "action" tomorrow (27 October), in protest at the bottler's restructuring plans for its European business.

The day follows a meeting of union representatives in Brussels earlier this month, at which they discussed a strategy to "force" the bottler to "fully engage with its workforces".

However, while unions generally talk a good game, significant question marks remain over the nature of EU-wide "action" and the level of power and influence it could have on the company.

For example, while the Unite union recently organised strike action in the UK, it seems coordinated strike action across Europe could prove much trickier to implement.

The unions have told just-drinks that tomorrow's "action" involves only demonstrations, underlining the point that more hardline activity may not be an option.

Professor Paul Marginson, director of the Industrial Relations Research Unit at The University of Warwick, believes it would be "pretty challenging" for unions to mount Europe-wide strike action.

"At it's most fundamental, the EU treaty leaves confidence for the right to strike, as well as the right to association, with the member states," Marginson told just-drinks. "So the EU itself has no formal confidence over the right to strike. And there is no European legislation provided for a right to strike.

"Any European-wide strike would need to be called in accordance with the national legislation, in each of the main countries affected in which CCE has operations," Marginson added. "Any strike action could become very complicated, with legislation in each member state holding its own set of rules."

Individual countries have very different rules on strikes, said Marginson: "UK law is specific and quite particular on the circumstance on which strikes can be called and the procedures that have to be followed in order to call them," he said.

"Under German law, strikes can only be called when agreements have run their termination," he said. "French law is very different again, in that it confirms the right to strike for individual workers, which is one reason why we are seeing what is going on in France at the moment. So it's a much more open constitutional right than it is in Germany."

Co-ordinating strike action across Europe would be a "considerable logistical task," Marginson reiterated. Demonstrations, on the other hand, will be "easier to call and coordinate".

While this may publicise their cause, unions look to be bereft of a 'plan B' to put co-ordinated pressure on CCE.


Related Content

First, they came for soft drinks... How the anti-sugar lobby will affect the alcohol industry - Comment

First, they came for soft drinks... How the anti-sugar lobby will affect the alcohol industry - Comm...

The Coca-Cola Co's job cuts will usher in industry-wide post-COVID reviews - comment

The Coca-Cola Co's job cuts will usher in industry-wide post-COVID reviews - comment...

Protecting the brand - What does Brexit mean for drinks trademarks? - analysis

Protecting the brand - What does Brexit mean for drinks trademarks? - analysis...

EU deadline for attached bottle caps too strict - Union of European Soft Drinks Associations

EU deadline for attached bottle caps too strict - Union of European Soft Drinks Associations ...

Oops! This article is copy protected.

Why can’t I copy the text on this page?

The ability to copy articles is specially reserved for people who are part of a group membership.

How do I become a group member?

To find out how you and your team can copy and share articles and save money as part of a group membership call Sean Clinton on
+44 (0)1527 573 736 or complete this form..



Forgot your password?