Europe’s biggest soft drinks plant is braced for industrial disruption after workers voted to strike.
(Bloomberg) — Europe’s biggest soft drinks plant is braced for industrial disruption after workers voted to strike.
Staff at Coca-Cola Europacific Partners Plc’s facility in Wakefield, England, will walk out for two weeks from June 8 after rejecting a pay offer that union bosses describe as a 6% raise on average. Inflation in the UK eased to 8.7% in April having stayed in double-digits for the previous seven months.
The Unite union said Thursday that workers who took part in a ballot voted to strike by a margin of 87%.
The action could affect Europe’s supply of drinks such as Coca-Cola, Fanta, Sprite and Monster. The factory is capable of producing nearly half a million soft drinks per hour in bottles and cans. A spokesperson for CCEP said it had “robust contingency measures” and was “confident that there will be no disruption to our trade customers.”
Sharon Graham, general secretary of Unite, said the workforce was “fizzing at the company’s profiteering,” citing a 37% rise in profits.
Britain has been suffered a wave of industrial action for the last year as record inflation plunged many workers into a cost-of-living crisis. Industrial action over real-term pay cuts has spanned a range of sectors including the civil service, public transport, Royal Mail, schools and universities, as well as the National Health Service.
CCEP said its pay offer was “very competitive.” In a statement, the company said it gave frontline staff a £1,000 bonus last year to help with rising costs, in addition to an average total package — including pension payments — of £46,900.
“We remain fully committed to maintaining talks with our colleagues at our Wakefield site and their representatives to secure a constructive outcome,” a spokesperson added.
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