Workers at whisky maker Chivas vote for strike action over pay

A glass of whisky
A glass of whisky (PA Wire)
15:22pm, Mon 10 May 2021
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Workers at whisky and spirits company Chivas have voted to take strike action in a row over pay.

The GMB union said manufacturing could be brought to a stand-still after workers backed industrial action against a “company pay freeze plan”.

The union said that 84.4% of GMB members backed calls for strike action and 92.7% supported action short of strike meaning industrial action could take place from as early as the last week in May, affecting all Chivas Scottish operations, from distillation to bottling.

GMB said the dispute was sparked by its discovery that the Chivas parent company Pernod Ricard awarded pay rises to their workers in France for this year.

GMB members have sent a clear message that they are prepared to take industrial action to secure better value for their hard work and sacrifice over the last 14 months

It said that mediation talks at ACAS collapsed last month after Chivas management refused to lift the pay freeze.

GMB Scotland Organiser Keir Greenaway said: “Chivas workers across Scotland have kept the profits rolling in throughout this pandemic, but also against the headwinds of Brexit and a tariffs war with the US – they deserve much better than a real-terms pay cut.

“It was a low-blow for workers to learn they would be the poor relations of the Pernod Ricard family and the recent financial results from the parent-company now clearly demonstrate that there is no excuse to value them so badly.

“You can’t build an economic recovery on pay cuts in Scotland’s highly lucrative whisky and spirits sector. There is no levelling-up or fair work agenda here for workers in communities like West Dunbartonshire and Speyside.

“GMB members have sent a clear message that they are prepared to take industrial action to secure better value for their hard work and sacrifice over the last 14 months, and the ball is back in the employer’s court to return with an improved offer.”

GMB Scotland represents workers across its Scottish sites, including at Kilmalid bottling hall, Strathclyde Grain Distillery, The Glenlivet Distillery, and maturation sites in Speyside, Clydebank and Ayrshire.

As well as its namesake products, the company produces brands including Ballantine’s, Glenlivet, Royal Salute and Aberlour.

Chivas Brothers has been asked for comment.

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