Coke-loving Brits face summer of misery as strikes set to spark mass shortages

Coca-Cola factory workers are to hold a string of strikes in a row over pay and it could mean a lack of fizzy drinks this summer.

The Unite union said hundreds of its members at a key production site, which also makes Sprite and Fanta, would stage walkouts from June 8.

They said supplies could be hit by the action at Europe’s largest soft drinks plant. There will be 14 days of industrial action including three 48-hour strikes and two 96-hour strikes at the plant in Wakefield, West Yorks.

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Unite general secretary Sharon Graham fumed: “Coca-Cola Europacific Partners is making profits in the billions but it’s delivering a pay cut to the very workers who are making them.”

Hundreds of workers voted for industrial action by a margin of 87%.

Unions chiefs said the pay offer currently on the table was worth an average of 6% amid the cost of living crunch.

A Coca-Cola Europacific Partners spokesperson said: “In the current economic climate, we believe the pay rises that we are offering are very competitive within the marketplace.

“We also provide substantial additional benefits and bonuses to our colleagues, altogether this is an average total package of £46,900 for a colleague at Wakefield.

“We have also made a £1,000 payment to all frontline colleagues in the past 12 months to support the current cost-of-living challenges.

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“Our competitive rewards package includes our share-save scheme and almost 80% of our Wakefield colleagues invest in that scheme and benefit from our ongoing success as a business.”

The drinks giant added it has “robust contingency measures” in place and said it is “confident that there will be no disruption to trade customers”.

The factory in Wakefield can produce 360,000 cans per hour and 132,000 bottles per hour.

It comes after fears over a potential summer ice cream shortage.

Shopkeepers said they are having to turn off fridges and freezers after the government stripped them of any help to pay energy bills.

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