Coca-Cola Enterprises "disappointed" with strike ballot

Coca-Cola Enterprises "disappointed" with strike ballot

Trade union leaders have postponed a planned strike at Coca-Cola Enterprises distribution facilities across the UK, but remain in a pay dispute with the soft drinks bottler.

Workers had planned to down tools on 4 August, following a ballot by the Unite union last week. However, the strike has since been postponed indefinitely, a United spokesperson confirmed to just-drinks today (1 August). 

She declined to comment on the reason for postponing, but said that it remains the union's intention to hold a strike in the near future. Last week, Unite's national officer, Jenny Formby, said that the trade union was "frustrated that the company has refused to engage meaningfully in negotiations to give the 200 distribution staff a fair pay rise".

It claimed that Coca-Cola Enteprises (CCE) has offered a rise of 2.3%, which is below inflation.

A spokesperson for CCE told just-drinks today: "CCE is very disappointed that this group of employees has now voted in favour of industrial action. 

"CCE has offered this group a two-year pay deal which gives them annual pay increases of 2.3% in year one and 2.3% in year two," she said. "This offer takes into account a number of factors, including market rates and a long-term responsible approach. We believe that this pay offer is fair in the current climate." 

She added: "CCE will activate plans to ensure that any industrial action minimises disruption to the high quality of service we always aim to deliver for our customers." The bottler said that the average salary for the group of distribution workers concerned is around GBP30,000 (US$49,300) per year.

Unite's Formby said late last week: "Unite made it very clear that the union is willing to consider any proposals to add value to the offer."