Socialist Worker

Escalate to beat Coke bosses

by Tom Walker
Issue No. 2221

Striking Coca-Cola workers (Pic: Socialist Worker)

Striking Coca-Cola workers (Pic: Socialist Worker)

Coca-Cola workers in Edmonton, north London, struck again on Wednesday and Thursday of last week in their fight for a decent pay rise.

The Unite union members were to be out again from 3pm to 9pm on Wednesday and Thursday of this week.

Supporters with drums and trumpets boosted the lively picket line last Thursday.

And a delegation of London bus workers came to offer solidarity to the solid strike.

Len McCluskey, a candidate in Unite’s general secretary election, joined the pickets.

He told strikers, “At the highest level of the union we’re standing shoulder to shoulder with you. You’re not standing alone—far from it.

“I salute you. Whatever support you want from the union, you will get it.”

Coca-Cola workers must hold him to these words.

Neither McCluskey nor Unite nationally have outlined a strategy to win.

Unite put out a statement saying Coca-Cola “could see the unrest spread elsewhere in the company”—but gave no detail about how that might happen.

But disputes may be brewing at some of Coke’s other plants.

Coca-Cola has shifted much of the Edmonton production to its bigger plant in Wakefield, West Yorkshire. It also has large stockpiles. But as the peak Christmas sales period gets closer, it will be easier to put pressure on the bosses.

Ken, a union rep, told Socialist Worker, “Our members are willing to escalate, people are that frustrated. We’ve been out for four days now and the company haven’t come back to talks. People are talking about daily walkouts.”

Striker Bill added, “If we can get Wakefield to come out then it’ll be done and dusted. We need to be united across Coca-Cola—then they’ll have nowhere to go. The union should coordinate it.”

Both are right—longer strikes, coordinated with other plants, are the way to win.

Names have been changed to protect workers. Send messages of support to

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Article information

Tue 28 Sep 2010, 18:03 BST
Issue No. 2221
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