Unite press release

For immediate release: Wednesday 3 May 2023

Corporate greed could mean shortages of Coca Cola, Sprite & Fanta to quench thirsts this summer

Strike ballot at Europe’s biggest soft drinks plant puts supplies of Coca Cola, Sprite, Fanta & Monster, and others, at risk.

Coca Cola Europacific Partner’s pay offer goes ‘flat’ as their profits rise 37% to £1.85 billion

Supplies of Britain’s favourite soft drinks could run dry this summer because the hugely profitable Coca Cola Europacific Partners (CCEP) won’t pay workers a fair wage which matches inflation.

Hundreds of workers at the largest soft drinks plant in Europe, in Wakefield, are voting on industrial action after a pay offer which does nothing to address the cost of living crisis. This is after CCEP generated revenues over £15 billion (17 billion Euros) combined with an operating profit of £1.85 billion (2.1 billion Euros).

The CCEP wage deal across different grades amounts to an average 6% increase. That’s gone ‘flat’ with the workers when inflation (RPI) is still booming at 13.5%.

Unite general secretary, Sharon Graham said: “Coca Cola Europacific Partners is making profits in the billions so it can easily afford to give its workers a proper pay rise.

“It’s profits are up 37% to an eye watering £1.85 billion but bosses refuse to pay workers a decent wage increase which keeps up with rising prices. This is nothing short of corporate greed. The workforce are fizzing at the company’s profiteering.”

“The workers at Wakefield have Unite’s total support.”

CCEP Wakefield can produce 360,000 cans per hour, and 132,000 bottles per hour.

CCEP’s products include; Coca Cola, Diet Coke, Coke Zero, Dr Pepper, Fanta, Fanta Lemon, Fanta Fruit Twist, Sprite, Monster and Relentless. The plant also produces Schweppes: Tonic, Diet Tonic, Bitter Lemon, Ginger Ale and Lemonade.

Unite regional officer Chris Rawlinson said: “A strike will inevitably put supplies of Britain’s favourite soft drinks, including Coca-Cola, at risk this summer. But Industrial action can be avoided at Europe’s biggest soft drinks plant if bosses agree to pay workers a fair wage from the company’s mammoth profits. They ought to do that now.”


Contact: Ciaran Naidoo on 07768 931 315  

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Unite is the UK and Ireland’s leading union fighting to protect and advance jobs, pay and conditions for members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Sharon Graham.