Workers at Coca-Cola’s soft drinks plant in Wakefield, West Yorkshire, are set to strike for 14 days next month in a dispute over pay.
Hundreds of Coca-Cola Europacific Partners workers at Europe’s largest soft drinks plant – which also produces Sprite, Fanta and Schweppes tonics – voted in favour of industrial action by a margin of 87% in the dispute over pay which the union Unite has said does nothing to address the cost-of-living crisis.
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The Coca-Cola pay deal across different grades amounts to an average pay increase of 6%. Unite said this was insufficient at a time when inflation measured by the retail prices index is still in double digits.
Unite regional officer Chris Rawlinson said: “Coco-Cola’s pay offer has fallen flat. The vast majority of the workforce has joined Unite to fight for fair pay.
“Now a series of strikes will inevitably shut down the production of Britain’s favourite soft drinks, including Coca-Cola. But industrial action can still be avoided at Europe’s biggest soft drinks plant if bosses realise that they must pay workers a fair wage from the company’s enormous profits.”
Coca-Cola Europacific Partners generated revenues of more than €17.2 billion (£15bn) and an operating profit of €2.1 billion (£1.8bn) last year.
Workers at the Wakefield plant, which can produce 360,000 cans and 132,000 bottles of drink per hour, are planning 14 days of strikes between 8 and 22 June.
Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “Offering workers a real-terms pay cut when business is booming is nothing short of corporate greed. The workforce is rightly furious at the company’s profiteering.”
Coca-Cola Europacific Partners has been approached for comment.
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