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UK: Coca-Cola Enterprises staff considers strike action

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Staff at Coca-Cola Enterprises (CCE) in the UK are to vote over possible strike action after rejecting an improved pay offer.

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The soft drinks bottler has been in a dispute with around 230 - 5% - of its UK employees over pay since last year. Following the rejection of a 2.3% pay rise, CCE said in a statement today (12 July) that its offer is "very competitive" in the current economic climate, and that it is disappointed that employees have rejected the offer.

A 24-hour strike took place at the CCE's Edmonton bottling plant in September last year when workers protested at the company's offer of a 2% pay rise.

"This year, CCE has already successfully concluded pay negotiations with Unite and other groups of GB employees," a spokesperson for CCE said. "We have been talking with the unions in detail and frequently over recent weeks. We intend to continue this approach to reach a constructive outcome to the pay negotiations. In the current economic climate, the pay rises that CCE are offering are very competitive."

Despite the latest increased offer, trade union Unite has said that it will ballot its members working in distribution centres across the UK from tomorrow.

"Unite is balloting its members at Coca-Cola Enterprises in response to the paltry pay offer by the company which amounts to less then half of retail price inflation," said Unite's national officer, Jenny Formby. "It is insulting to the workforce that this vastly profitable multinational is refusing to listen to its employees and acknowledge their contribution to the success of the organisation."

CCE, which has distribution centres in Bristol, East Kilbride, Edmonton, Enfield, Exeter, Northampton and Sidcup, said it will activate plans in order to ensure any industrial action minimises disruption to its services.


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