Strike: It’s the real thing!

September 15, 2010

Four million fewer bottles of Coca Cola could be produced this month as a series of stoppages lasting to the end of September begins today (15 September 2010) in a dispute over pay.

The workers at Coca-Cola Enterprises’ Edmonton bottling plant warn that the dispute could escalate unless the company gets real. The workers are angry over the company’s refusal to enter into meaningful negotiations over a two year pay offer. Workers are being offered 2% in 2010 and are likely to only receive around 2% in 2011.

Unite members at the plant voted by a massive eight to one to reject the company’s two percent pay offer.

The action will be discontinuous strike action with members who work the day shifts commencing 06.00 hours finishing work at 15.00 hours instead of 18.00 hours. Members who work the night shift will commence work at 21.00 hours instead of 18.00 hours and finish at 06.00 hours the following day. There will be no production at the site between the hours of 15.00 and 21.00.

Unite members will be on the picket line from 15.00 until 21.00 today (15 September) with flags and placards. Coca Cola produces about two million bottles every 24 hours at Edmonton and nationally employs more than 4,000 people.

Unite’s national officer Jennie Formby said: “Frustrated workers are turning off the taps at this Coca Cola bottling plant. They deserve a pay deal that reflects the true cost of living. With pre-tax profits up by 12% to £617.9million in 2009 and projections of better than expected results this year, the company can easily afford a fairer deal.”

“We are very concerned by the lack of commitment from Coca Cola Enterprises to reaching a deal on this issue and the refusal to consider a compromise at ACAS last week, instead choosing to reissue the previous proposal. Unless the company engages more positively with Unite, workers will become even more frustrated and we could well see an escalation of this dispute.”

Strike dates are as follows

Wednesday 15th and Thursday 16th September 2010

Wednesday 22nd and Thursday 23rd September 2010

Wednesday 29th and Thursday 30th September 2010

Wayne King, Unite regional official will be available for interview at the site on Nobel Road, Edmonton from 14.30.

Links: Unite union website ¦ Background information ¦ Strike report

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