January 31, 2018 / 3:29 PM / a year ago

UPDATE 1-Coke bottler proposes shake-up to cost a net 167 UK jobs

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LONDON, Jan 31 (Reuters) - Drinks bottler Coca-Cola European Partners is proposing to close a UK factory and distribution centre, resulting in the loss of 288 jobs.

At the same time, the seller of Coca-Cola drinks plans to transfer production and warehousing to other sites in Britain, creating 121 jobs.

The net result would be the loss of 167 jobs.

“We believe the proposed changes are necessary as they would provide significant productivity improvements and create greater efficiency across our manufacturing and distribution operations in Great Britain,” a spokesman said.

The closures, of a factory in Milton Keynes and a distribution centre in Northampton, are planned for 2019.

They are the result of a strategic review of the company’s production network aimed at boosting efficiency, according to a spokesman.

Soft drink sales have been sluggish for years as health-conscious consumers cut back. Britain’s sugar tax, which comes into effect in April, is expected to add further pressure.

As UK businesses grapple with the expected implications of Brexit, several companies have announced job cuts, including Britvic and Unilever , which are exiting a joint site in Norwich. (Reporting by Martinne Geller; Editing by Jason Neely and Mark Potter)

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