The recent series of strikes at Coca-Cola’s plant in north London will be replicated across the UK and Europe tomorrow, with demonstrations scheduled at seven UK sites.
Workers are protesting at Coca-Cola Enterprise’s (CCE) plans to replace high paid jobs with low paid ones – part of a downsizing plan which the union Unite has labelled as an opportunistic strategy to increase profits.
Unite members at CCE sites in Edmonton, Sidcup, East Kilbride, Bristol, Northampton, Milton Keyes and Wakefield will hold demonstrations through tomorrow (Wed Oct 27), as will their peers on the continent.
Coca-Cola Enterprises has said that no final decisions have been made, and the company is consulting with employee repersentatives.
“We are extremely concerned that a recession-resistant company seems bent on using the economic difficulties to force through attacks on jobs and pay,” said Jennie Formby, Unite national officer for food and drink. “While the boardroom rewards shareholders, it is callously cutting the jobs of the workers who help make Coke its massive profits.”
Unite went on to demand: “As a 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.”
CCE responded to the union’s statement: “Coca-Cola Enterprises is proposing to make changes at our manufacturing and distribution sites in Great Britain; these changes target a single, consistent way of working across all our plants in GB, Belgium, the Netherlands and France, so that we can remain competitive and grow our business for the future,” said a company spokesman.
“If implemented the changes would affect seven sites in GB. The proposed changes could result in up to an estimated 120 roles being at risk of redundancy in GB, however 130 new roles and other development opportunities would also be created.
“We are committed to meaningful consultation throughout this process and will seek to manage and mitigate the impact on our people wherever possible.”
In April this year, CCE posted global profits of $110m and said it expected further growth.