Diageo staff vote to strike in pay dispute

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Workers are planning to strike at sites owned by the UK’s largest producer of whisky amid a dispute over pay.

Unite members have voted in favour of industrial action, likely to be from September to November, at three of Diageo’s distilling and bottling plants.

The move comes after members turned down a 2.8% pay rise that would not include a “product allowance” increase for employees allowed to take more of the firm’s merchandise without paying.

Bob MacGregor, regional industrial officer for the union, said: “Unite has received a clear and strong mandate for industrial action from our membership in Diageo’s largest distilling and bottling plants in Scotland.

“The recent announcement in July of an increase in pre-tax profits to £4.2 billion alongside Diageo’s refusal to give a fair pay award has rightly infuriated the workers.

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“Unite would urge Diageo to get back round the negotiating table with a new offer which fairly rewards its workers, who have earned these massive profits for the company.

“If they do not, then Diageo’s operations will needlessly grind to a halt in the coming weeks.”

Staff at the Leven, Cameronbridge and Shieldhall premises previously rejected a 2.5% pay rise and increase in their “product allowance”.

Diageo operates 28 malt distilleries in the UK, accounting for nearly one-third of the industry’s capacity.

The drinks company’s catalogue of brands includes Smirnoff, Baileys, Johnnie Walker, Guinness, Tanqueray and Gordon’s.

David Beckham
David Beckham’s Haig whisky is among those produced at the Cameronbridge distillery (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

David Beckham’s Haig whisky is among those produced at the Cameronbridge site.

A Diageo spokeswoman said: “We have well developed contingency plans in the event of industrial action but remain committed to seeking a resolution and ensuring our employees receive an increase on their pay, alongside maintaining the competitiveness of our operations.

“We are a very good employer and aim to ensure our staff are rewarded competitively; our pay and benefits for our bargaining group employees are in the top quartile for manufacturing in Scotland.”

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