Coca-Cola defends offer

Posted on 7 Sep 2010 by The Manufacturer

Coca-Cola has responded to the impending strike action by its workers in Edmonton by saying it believes its pay offer is fair and that it is disappointed by the actions of the union Unite.

The workers at the north London plant have voted overwhelmingly in favour of a strike after rejecting the famous soft drink maker’s offer of a two per cent rise – something Unite dismissed as “frankly insulting”. Two six hour walk outs are planned for tomorrow (Wednesday September 8).

“Coca-Cola Enterprises Ltd (CCE) can confirm that on Wednesday 1 September, we received formal notification of limited strike action to be held at our Edmonton site in north London,” said the company in a statement.

“We are extremely disappointed in UNITE’s actions and we believe that the pay offer made in the current climate is fair. We remain open to continuing a dialogue with all our employees and with the unions in an effort to reach a constructive outcome.

“CCE has a long standing commitment to engaging positively with our employees and employee representatives, and we are disappointed that the unions have taken this step.

“CCE has plans in place to ensure that any industrial action does not disrupt the high quality of service we always aim to deliver for our customers.”

Unite regional officer Wayne King says the workers could repeat the walk-out in coming weeks unless a satisfactory resolution is found.

“Coca-Cola is one of the world’s biggest brands but their stingy behaviour towards their workforce is not something they can be proud of,” he said. “This company is not suffering during the recession so it is immoral of them to use the climate of austerity to foist a pay cut on their workforce.

“CCE is not playing straight on pay – a derisory deal which is only there if the workers’ union recommends it is not an offer, it is an attempt to get the union involved in their swindle. The size of the vote in favour of action shows that the workers are just not falling for it.

“All the workforce is asking for is a fair deal. Unite remains fully committed to meaningful discussions, as we have been throughout this process and we hope CCE will now take the opportunity before them to settle this matter fairly.”

Coca-Cola employs more than 4,000 people in total across the UK.