Staff at Europe’s largest soft drinks plant are facing an uncertain future after bosses announced plans to axe almost 300 jobs.
Coca Cola Enterprises this week revealed they would make redundancies across the country – which has put around 54 jobs at their massive Wakefield operation under threat.
Union officials have vowed to do everything they can to minimise the impact of the restructuring plans, which will see the firm change the way it distributes products.
A spokeswoman for CCE told the YEP: “Following a strategic review, we are proposing to end our direct delivery service in Great Britain. This service is primarily used by food service outlets and we have identified the need for a more efficient way of distributing our products to these customers.
“We have now started a full consultation on these proposals with our employee representative bodies and the Unite trade union. If these changes were implemented they could result in the loss of approximately 288 roles from a total workforce in Great Britain of 4,400. We expect these proposals could result in a reduction of approximately 54 roles from a total workforce of 520 in our Wakefield facility in Yorkshire.
“We do not make these proposals lightly and we will, of course, be looking to minimise redundancies as far as possible and will offer support to help colleagues through this process.”
As well as the plant on the Wakefield 41 Industrial Estate, which opened in 1989, sites in Bristol, East Kilbride, North London, Northampton and Sidcup are also affected.
Officials from the Unite union said they would be seeking further details about the reasons behind the cuts.
Unite national officer for food and drink Jennie Formby said: “This news will be a devastating blow for our members and their families, especially in the current economic climate of austerity, welfare cuts and now rising unemployment.
“It is too early to make a detailed analysis of the announcement. However, our immediate priority must be to get full details of the reasoning behind this decision and to examine what alternatives there could be for our members.
“Cola Coca Enterprises is a highly profitable and successful global company and we will be doing everything in our power to protect jobs.”