Coca-Cola confirms two UK site closures

By Rachel Arthur contact

- Last updated on GMT

Brands produced at the Milton Keynes site include Fanta, Capri-Sun and Coca-Cola. Pic: Getty/kwangmoozaa
Brands produced at the Milton Keynes site include Fanta, Capri-Sun and Coca-Cola. Pic: Getty/kwangmoozaa
Coca-Cola has confirmed it will close two UK sites: a manufacturing site in Milton Keynes and a distribution center in Northampton.

The proposals to shut the sites were announced by Coca-Cola earlier this year and have been confirmed this week. Coca-Cola says the closures are necessary to provide greater efficiencies across its operations in the country.

The Milton Keynes plant employs 220 people and the Northampton distribution center employs 54 people.

'Difficult decision'

The Milton Keynes site has been operational since 1976 and produces 60 million cases per year across nine manufacturing lines. Brands produced at the site include Coca-Cola, Capri-Sun, Fanta and Monster Energy; across cans, pouches (Capri-Sun) and bag-in-box (syrup for commercial customers).

A statement from Coca-Cola says: “After consulting with employees and their representatives for 55 days we have taken the decision to move ahead with proposals to close our manufacturing site in Milton Keynes and our distribution center in Northampton.

"Under these plans the closures will take place across 2019, impacting a total of 288 roles across the two sites."

Coca-Cola says it will support all impacted staff with training and development opportunities, as well as tailored outplacement support. 

“We want to stress that [the closures] are not a reflection on the performance or professionalism of our colleagues at these sites.

"In addition, there will be redeployment opportunities within our business with the creation of 121 new roles across our manufacturing and distribution network.

“Whilst this was a difficult decision to make, we believe it is the right way forward for our business. It will allow us to significantly improve productivity and create greater efficiency for our business in Great Britain, allowing us to continue to grow in this increasingly dynamic market.

"We will be transferring all production and warehousing from Milton Keynes and Northampton to other GB sites and will continue to invest in our business to support long-term growth.”

Business case?

Trade union Unite says that Coca-Cola ‘has not made the business case’ for the site closures and urges the soft drinks giant to have an urgent rethink.

Sally Mortimer, regional officer, said: “This is devastating news for the workers and their families, and the local economies in Milton Keynes and Northampton.

“Unite does not believe that Coca Cola has made a convincing business case for these closures. There were strong representations from Unite during the consultation period.

“Even at this eleventh hour, we urge Coca Cola to have an urgent rethink and not to jettison the hardworking workforces at these two sites.​”

The union says it will explore options with Coca-Cola to redistribute as many workers as possible within Coca-Cola.

Related topics: Coca-Cola, Soft Drinks & Water

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