Fat Cat Coke Edmonton

October 5, 2010

Workers at the Coca-Cola manufacturing and bottling plant in Edmonton, London, have been on strike for three weeks.

They have been offered a below inflation 2 per cent pay rise while conditions have worsened in the factory. The pension scheme is now crap and there are redundancies going on, including 19 here at Nobel Road. This is despite the company making £620m last year ! Workers are bitter about the non negotiating management, saying this is a dictatorship. In this context, management’s complaints about voting procedure is a sick joke.

Next planned strike dates are every Wednesday and Thursday, after which the action will be intensified. Currently picket lines are mounted from 3pm til 9pm, as the strikes are organised around the start/end of shifts.

The company  admits a big drop in production to around 3/4 of the norm, or 1/3 million bottles a day say the strikers. Support has been coming in from around the world: Mozambique, USA, Ireland, Norway, Pakistan, etc. Messages are recorded on the “Fat Cat Coke” Facebook page, which also has a video from food workers energetically celebrating solidarity in South Africa. There are already friendly relations with Coke workers in the USA  in the Teamsters union. A video with Reel News has also been arranged.

In this climate of so-called  “inevitable cuts”, the Coca Cola strikers  are brave enough  to stand up for their rights  against economic exploitation and greedy bosses. All workers should show solidarity wherever they can, as every victory counts. Money collections and donations would be happily received.

The pickets have been lively and noisy so far with around 35 workers present, carrying flags saying “Fair play, not foul play for Coca Cola workers”. Chants and shouts echo the site, with the loudspeakers blaring out  “Money, money, money , it’s a rich mans world “ and “I’m part of the union”.  Most passing cars, vans and trucks  hoot in support.  Visitors to the line include local workers and bus drivers from a nearby depot. Unite union officials are also coming at times.

Although the present action is unfortunately limited to Edmonton, Coca Cola has many plants in the UK –  manufacturing, distribution, head and regional offices, etc…  These are at Uxbridge, Hammersmith, Sidcup and Poyle, Milton Keynes, Coventry, Coleshill, Northampton, Peterborough and Nottingham, Cardiff, Bridgend, Colwall and Bristol, Wakefield, Warrington, Peterlee, Morpeth, East Kilbride and Aberdeen.
Of these, Sidcup and Wakefield are the most important as management are seeking extra production. But negotiations are due soon there and with the Xmas rush, pressure is on the bosses.

Some of these plants will be unionised, all could be visited  by workers or supporters. Managers would be upset to see solidarity pickets outside the gates but the workers’ negotiating position would be greatly increased, as the experience of the Ford Visteon struggle showed.

Supporters should try to get to Nobel Road, N18, for future strikes.  Its just off the roundabout, on Meridian Way, north of Tesco. Tube to Tottenham Hale then bus up to IKEA/Tesco. Or nearby Angel Road overhead station. You’ll be among friends if you can make it.


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