SBF GB&I resolves strike action

Suntory reaches agreement with Gloucestershire workers

Pack shots of Suntory products including (from left to right) Lucozade Alert Zero Mango Peachade, Lucozade Energy Orange and Ribena Zero Sparkling.
Suntory confirms it has struck a new deal with its Gloucestershire workforce, bringing an end to any further potential strike action at the Coleford plant.

SUNTORY Beverage and Food (SBF) GB&I has confirmed a new pay deal with its Gloucestershire workforce.

The new follows on from planned strike action, which was scheduled to commence on 5 February, after Unite the Union claimed the Lucozade manufacturer had failed to address the financial concerns caused by the cost-of-living crisis.

Karl Ottomar, supply chain director at SBF GB&I, said: “Suntory Beverage and Food GB&I has reached an agreement with our union and employee representatives.

“This pay negotiation agreement represents a generous offer to our employees and cements our position as a top employer in the region.

 “We’re pleased that our focus can now be directed to strengthening our customer service and producing our iconic Lucozade and Ribena drinks in the heart of the Forest of Dean.”

The strike action was set to move into its second phase on 28 February and was to last until 7 March until workers at the Coleford plant agreed to a 5.5% pay rise.

Unite claimed that SBF GB&I had not raised wages in line with inflation for the Coleford workforce, leading to the scheduled week-long strike action.

At the time, Michael Hobbs, regional officer at Unite the Union, said: “The strike action will inevitably result in shortages of consumers’ favourite drinks, but Suntory has brought this strike on itself due to its unreasonable actions.

“Our members have been pushed to their limit because of the continuous disrespect shown by Suntory and its inability to address the current impact of the cost-of-living crisis on its workers.”

Suntory responded by saying its employees at the plant in Coleford had already received two pay increases, in addition to a one-off payment, since 2022 in recognition of their work during this time.

Suntory also confirmed that it had procedures in place to minimise any potential disruption to trade for its customers during the strike.

At the time, Ottomar said: “To support our trade customers, we have business continuity plans to ensure minimal disruption through this period.

“During this week, the factory will remain open with production lines still producing drinks for customers nationwide.

“SBF GB&I remains committed to supporting all our employees, suppliers and customers, working with fairness and consistency.”