Workers at one of Scotland’s biggest whisky producers are voting on whether to strike in action a union has said could hit festive supplies.
Unite confirmed on Monday that its members at Chivas Brothers were being balloted.
They include hundreds of employees at the premier drink brand’s Kilmalid, Dalmuir, Beith, Strathclyde Grain and Strathisla distilleries, and Dumbuck warehouse facility among others.
Chivas employs around 1,500 workers in Scotland.
Unite warned if the membership backs strike action, then it will hit festive season supplies “hard”.
The company produces Scottish whisky brands including Chivas Regal, Aberlour, Ballantine’s, Royal Salute and The Glenlivet.
Unite members previously rejected a 6.4% pay offer by 97%, the union said.
The ballot closes on November 20.
Sharon Graham, Unite general secretary said: “Strike action at Chivas Brothers is a step closer following the failure of the company to make our members a fair pay offer. Any strike action involving hundreds of Unite members will undoubtedly hit hard the supplies of the company’s premier whisky brands over the festive season.”
“Let’s remember it is a company who can afford to pay far more as it made an eye-watering £168.5m in profit. Unite will back our Chivas Brothers members all the way in the fight for better jobs, pay and conditions.”
In August, Chivas Brothers confirmed its strongest financial performance in a decade with a 17% growth in net sales.
A Chivas Brothers spokesperson said the company was “disappointed” that employees covered by a bargaining agreement were being balloted for industrial action.
“However, we maintain our position and firm belief that our offer strikes the right balance between ensuring our salaries remain highly competitive in the context of a normalising business environment, while enabling us to build a successful and sustainable future for Chivas Brothers and its people, for the long term,” they said.
“As a business we have always sought to share our success with our teammates at every level across the organisation. We have, and will continue to, reward our people competitively, while responsibly managing our business for the years ahead. In real terms, if taken together with last year’s pay agreement, our current offer puts our proposed increase above the CPI and CPIH inflation averages seen over our last two financial years.”
“Our recent investments in distillery expansions and decarbonisation, site safety and our communities across Scotland further demonstrate our dedication to our people and their futures. We sincerely hope that any industrial action can be avoided, but are confident that we can put in place the necessary measures to minimise the impact of any disruption on our business and our customers around the world.”
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