Striking Britvic workers will call for Robinsons boycott at Wimbledon
PUBLISHED: 16:02 28 June 2018 | UPDATED: 17:01 28 June 2018
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Striking workers at Britvic's Norwich factory will take their dispute with the company to the Wimbledon tennis championships in protest at the redundancy packages they are being offered.
Members of the GMB union will walk out of the Carrow Works factory on July 12 and distribute leaflets at Wimbledon, where Britvic’s Robinsons squash has been a sponsor for 83 years, to call for a public boycott of the company’s brands.
Some 242 jobs are to go by the end of next year as the drinks maker moves production elsewhere in the country.
Britvic maintains that its offer to workers is “substantially larger” than it is legally obliged to offer and reflects their years of service.
But Ivan Mercer, GMB regional organiser, said attempts at negotiating a better settlement had hit a dead end.
“Members are disgusted with the way that Britvic is behaving and have reluctantly come to terms with the fact that Britvic do not care that they are being put out of work after they and generations before them have made the Robinsons brand the market leader that it is today,” he said.
“It is our intention to visit the Wimbledon tennis championships where Robinsons have been a sponsor for 83 years on the strike day to distribute leaflets to the general public making them aware of our campaign and the way that Britvic are treating their employees.
“We will be asking them to boycott not only the Britvic Robinsons brands but also those of their major customers such as McDonalds, Subway and Pepsi.”
Mr Mercer said workers wanted to be “comparably rewarded” in the same way that Unilever employees are being, following that company’s decision also to leave the Norwich factory it shares with Britvic.
Despite having once been the same company, Mr Mercer said the two firms’ approach showed they were now “poles apart”.
“It is clear that Britvic are not the caring, family friendly and honourable company that their neighbours appear to be,” he said.
Britvic said it respected workers’ right to strike but has questioned the balloting process – which the GMB has dismissed as “embarrassing”.
“We understand this is a difficult time for our colleagues at Norwich and we are grateful for the dedication they are continuing to show. Britvic has committed to offer every impacted Britvic employee redeployment opportunities, support to find alternative employment, and an enhanced redundancy package.”