Demonstrations across UK and Europe as Coca-Cola Enterprises prepares to cut jobs and pay
November 2, 2010
Unite members across seven Coca-Cola Enterprise (CCE) sites – including the Edmonton one – joined last week (Wed 27 October) their fellow trade union members across Europe in staging a series of nationwide demonstrations against the company’s European-wide restructuring, which they believe is being pushed through without proper consultation with the workforce.
Up to 120 well paid UK jobs are at risk, and over 400 in Europe as a whole, as the company forces through its restructuring plans with only lower salaried roles available to replace them.
The workers are concerned that management’s apparent unwillingness to engage meaningfully with them is part of the company’s broader strategy of boosting profits by using the recession to force through restructuring and cuts in jobs and pay.
In sharp contrast to the workers’ fortunes, earlier this month CCE’s board of directors declared that the dividend rate for shareholders would increase by more than 30 per cent from December. In April 2010, CCE posted a net profit of $110 million and said it expected growth to continue throughout this year.
Jennie Formby, Unite national officer for food and drink, said: “We are extremely concerned that a recession-resistant company seems bent on using the economic difficulties to force through attacks on jobs and pay. While the boardroom rewards shareholders, it is callously cutting the jobs of the workers who help make Coke its massive profits.
“Unite is demanding that Coke thinks again. As a very minimum there must be a guarantee of no compulsory redundancies, permanent pay protection for all displaced workers and Coke must start to engage fully in meaningful consultation about making sure our members don’t pay the price for changes that will further benefit this phenomenally profitable company.”
Unite members at CCE sites in Edmonton, Sidcup, East Kilbride, Bristol, Northampton, Milton Keyes and Wakefield protested against the restructuring in a series of demonstrations throughout the day.
There have been a series of strikes at the Edmonton bottling plant over a below inflation pay offer. Further action has been suspended as more talks loom.
Tags: workplace organising