Coca-Cola kicks off campaign to put an end to ageism at work


Soft drinks giant Coca-Cola is pioneering a new communications campaign that aims to address age-related issues ahead of next year’s age discrimination laws.

The Age Aware campaign, launched today by the Employers Forum on Age (EFA), is designed to encourage workers to recognise discrimination and discuss their own ageist attitudes in the run up to October 2006.

Coca-Cola Enterprises, which handles bottling, manufacturing and selling for the company, is the first EFA member to implement the campaign, which uses materials such as posters, flyers and intranet banners to highlight age issues.

Catherine Webb, HR controller for planning at Coca-Cola Enterprises, said the scheme, which is underpinned by training programmes on issues such as recruitment and retirement procedures, would address ingrained attitudes.

“It’s about a culture change,” she said. “We are aiming to create a can-do attitude with people being more open-minded.”

The campaign forms part of Coca-Cola’s wider efforts to address age-related workplace issues, which have included auditing all HR policies, introducing a talkback group for employees and implementing the EFA’s 20-point checklist to avoid discrimination.

Although most of Coca-Cola’s 4,800 UK staff are between 25 and 45, the numbers of younger and older workers is growing, with 22% of the workforce over 45 and 8% under 25.

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