Coca-Cola's attack on jobs targets two UK sites

Coca-Cola European Partners (CCEP), the world's largest independent Coca-Cola bottler, announced late January that the company is planning to close a distribution center in Northampton in January 2019 and a manufacturing site in Milton Keynes in October 2019 with the loss of almost 300 jobs.

The company is proposing to transfer production across the remaining five sites and warehousing to other UK sites. The company states that they decided to close the Milton Keynes site as an alternative to much needed investment of some £40 million despite the fact that £5 million was already spent for refurbishing the site in 2015 and the site is one of the most efficient in Europe including the very high productivity levels. CCEP employs around 160 workers at the Milton Keys manufacturing site.

Consultations and negotiations at Northampton and the Milton Keynes site with IUF-affiliated Unite the Union and GMB will start on the first week of February.

The company says it expects to create 121 additional jobs across its manufacturing and distribution networks, providing potential redeployment opportunities for workers impacted by these company plans. However the location of other sites makes it very difficult for many workers to consider a move that might mean lengthy travels to work or relocating families. As such workers see this as not more than a token gesture to deflect attention on the job destruction involved.

The IUF together with its members organized at Coca-Cola operations around the world stand together with Coca-Cola workers and their unions in the UK in any negotiations or actions they might take to mitigate the impact of the CCEP plan to close these sites.