Coca-Cola plastic bottle makers consider strike over ‘insulting’ pay offer

Almost 150 workers at a Wigan plastic bottle manufacturer which supplies the likes of Coca-Cola and Britvic are considering strike action over an “insulting” pay offer.

Unite members at Alpla UK’s Golborne factory are being balloted in response to the 2% pay offer.

In a statement, the union said its members are “extremely angry” that other staff at the firm have been awarded a 3% rise.

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The workers also want the company to fulfil a pledge made in 2020 to increase employer pension contributions.

Alpla UK makes plastic bottles and containers for customers including PZ Cussons, Johnson & Johnson, Lever, Britvic, Coca Cola, Arla Foods, Core Ingredients, Princes Foods and others.

Unite said any strike action could impact supplies of bottles and containers for products such as detergents, hand sanitiser, shower gels and drinks.

The ballot opens on Wednesday, September 8, and closes on September 22.

Unite regional officer Richard O’Brien said: “Alpla UK has a very healthy turnover of nearly £200m and operating profits of more than £21m.

“The company can clearly afford to offer our members more than an insulting two per cent, particularly after they kept Alpla going through the pandemic when other firms were struggling.

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“After Alpla’s award of three per cent to other staff and a failure to honour its 2020 pension promises, our members feel they are being treated as second class employees and are extremely angry.

“The strength of feeling is such that Unite has no choice but to ballot our members for strike action, which could impact the availability of major food, drink and other consumer brands across the country.

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“Given the difficulties already facing the supply chain because of driver shortages, this will be the last thing Alpla’s customers want.

“We urge Alpla to return to the negotiating table with an offer our members can accept before this dispute escalates further.

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“Unite is dedicated to advancing the jobs, pay and conditions of its members and will fight back against any efforts to diminish workers’ living standards.”

Alpla UK has been contacted for a comment.

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