The Royal Forest Factory produces Suntory brands including Lucozade and Ribena

More than 180 employees are set to begin a week of strike action over pay at Suntory Beverage & Food.

The industrial action at Suntory’s factory in Coleford, Gloucestershire would begin on 5 February and “inevitably result in shortages” of popular drinks including Lucozade and Ribena, Unite the union said.

Workers at the site were given a two-year pay deal in April 2022, with Suntory committing to review the second year’s increase if inflation exceeded 5% between January and June 2023.

Despite this happening, Suntory had failed to meet “expectations in relation to this commitment”, Unite said.

As a result, workers at The Royal Forest Factory – which produces drinks including Lucozade Energy, Lucozade Sport and Ribena – would walk out for the first time since the 1970s.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said Suntory was “awash with cash” and its failure to give staff a fair pay increase was “reprehensible”.  

“The workers at Suntory have Unite’s complete support,” she added. 

Unite regional officer Michael Hobbs said Suntory had “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,” he added. 

Suntory Beverage & Food, meanwhile, said stock would continue to be produced during the duration of the industrial dispute, adding its remuneration package made it “a very competitive employer in the region”.

“The employees taking part have received two pay increases in addition to a one-off additional payment since 2022 in recognition of their work and to support with the cost of living crisis,” a spokeswoman for Suntory said. “We have also invested heavily in the modernisation of our historic Coleford site, including a £13m bottling line in 2020.

“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.”