Strikes off at Wakefield Coca-Cola plant after company agrees 18% pay increase for staff
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Staff at the Coca-Coca Europacific Partners factory – Europe’s biggest soft drinks plant – are now in line for pay increases of up to 18 per cent after the industrial dispute.
Unite the Union said supplies of the UK’s favourite soft drinks were safe this summer after Coca-Cola agreed to share a greater proportion of its profits with workers.
Strikes were due to begin tomorrow (Wednesday, June 14) but a breakthrough in negotiations means there will be no walk-outs this summer.
Unite general secretary, Sharon Graham said: “This is a well-deserved pay increase for Coca-Cola workers.
"The famous soft drinks company made an astronomical £1.85 billion in profits. It’s only right that the workers on the factory floor get a fairer share of the profits they help to make.
“The workers are to be congratulated for joining forces and taking a stand.”
The deal will mean salaries increase between £3,476 and £3,876 in the first 12 months, with further increases to salaries from April 1, 2024.
Unite said the deal will mean the lowest paid technician receive a 16.6 per cent increase to their salary, with the highest paid technician receiving a 10.2 per cent increase.
The lowest paid clerical worker will receive an 18.1 per cent increase to salary, and the highest paid will receive a 12 per cent increase.
Coca-Cola Europacific Partners (CCEP) in Wakefield can produce 360,000 cans per hour, and 132,000 bottles per hour.
Staff at the plant voted for industrial action by a margin of 87 per cent.
The two-week strike at Coca-Cola Europacific Partners was intended to begin on Wednesday, June 14 and end on Wednesday, June 28.
Coca-Cola Europacific Partners products include Coca-Cola, Diet Coke, Coke Zero, Dr Pepper, Fanta, Fanta Lemon, Fanta Fruit Twist, Sprite.
The plant also produces Schweppes Tonic, Diet Tonic, Bitter Lemon, Ginger Ale and Lemonade.
Unite regional officer, Chris Rawlinson: “Supplies of the UK’s favourite soft drinks are now safe this summer.
"The threat of strike action meant Coca-Cola finally agreed to share a greater proportion of its mammoth profits with workers.
“The union’s reps and members organised a fantastic campaign for better pay. It’s more proof that it pays to be a member of Unite.”
A Coca-Cola Europacific Partners spokesperson said: “We can confirm that following Unite the Union’s ballot of its members at our Wakefield site, our pay offer has been accepted and proposed strike action has been cancelled.
"Throughout this process we have remained fully committed to maintaining talks with our colleagues at the site, and their representatives, to secure a positive outcome.
"The agreed deal at Wakefield is very much in line with the approach we have adopted at other sites, with a 6 per cent headline pay increase alongside other, locally negotiated, items that improve flexibility.
"We are pleased that these pay negotiations are now concluded.”