No deal for Coke workers

Posted on 10 Sep 2010 by The Manufacturer

After Wednesday’s walkout was cancelled at the 11th hour, Coca-Cola workers in north London are now preparing once more to strike after failing to agree a deal on pay.

The situation was referred to independent employee dispute resolution service ACAS which prevented Wednesday’s strike. However, talks broke down last night with the union Unite accusing the company of being unwilling to budge on its two per cent pay rise offer – something Unite regional officer Wayne King had called “frankly insulting”.

Stoppages at the Edmonton production line, where 150 work, will now take place next Wednesday, September 15th.

King accused Coca–Cola of failing to enter the ACAS discussions ‘in good faith’ but Coca-Cola responded by saying that Unite left the discussions before they had ended and while an agreement was very much still on the cards.

“Talks at ACAS ended shortly after 1830 yesterday when the team from UNITE left, before agreement had been reached,” said a company spokesperson. “This is especially disappointing with the CCE team available to continue negotiations, and believing that further dialogue offered the prospect of a constructive outcome. After investing in a full day of talks, we are very frustrated that progress did not prove possible at ACAS yesterday.”

King remains bullish though. “Despite the opportunity for progress presented by the ACAS talks, CCE offered exactly the same as before – that is, a real terms pay cut,” he said.

“The only way to settle this dispute is for CCE to move beyond its intransigent position and negotiate honourably with Unite.

“Unite remains available for further talks, but unless CCE improves its offer next week’s planned industrial action will go ahead.”

Coca-Cola, which employs 4,000 people in the UK in total, has previously said on the record that it believes its offer to be fair.