Irn-Bru stocks 'could fizzle out' as workers back strike action

Supplies of Scotland's other national drink could dry up this summer after staff rejected a 5% pay increase.

Workers at a plant manufacturing Scotland’s other national drink have voted in favour of strikes amid an escalating dispute over pay.

Staff at A.G. Barr have warned stocks of Irn-Bru are now “directly under threat” after around a dozen trucker and shunter drivers at the company’s Cumbernauld production and distribution centre announced plans to walk out.

Trade union Unite said 83% of those balloted voted in favour of action after rejecting a 5% pay offer, which workers argue represents a “real-terms” cut of 6.3% based on soaring rates of inflation across the board.

Dates are to be announced in due course, the union said, unless management agrees to get back round the table.

Andy Brown, Unite industrial officer said: “Unite’s members emphatically backed strike action due to A.G. Barr’s tight-fistedness.

“What’s currently on the table is really taking the fizz. It’s totally unacceptable because the company is cash rich. We remain open to resolving this dispute through negotiation but unless there is a significant improvement in the pay offer strike action is on the cards.”

Unite said Barr’s – which also makes Rubicon, Strathmore Water and Tizer – was a “cash rich company” with “£52.9m sitting in the bank”.

They added the firm’s business increased its revenue by 18.2% to £317.6m for the year ended on January 29 2023.

General secretary Sharon Graham added: “Summer supplies of Irn-Bru could fizzle out in a matter of weeks due to A.G. Barr’s derisory pay offer. 

“The company has £52.9m sitting in the bank, yet management are refusing to share this massive money pot with their workers. We will back our members all the way in their fight for better jobs, pay and conditions.”

A Barr’s spokesperson said “contingency plans” were in place to minimise any disruption.

“We’re disappointed in today’s decision by a small number of our drivers to take industrial action,” they added.

“We made an offer which we believe is fair and competitive to our HGV1 drivers. It is also in line with what has been agreed with our other employees and we believe we have a responsibility to be fair to everyone.  

“We have contingency plans in place to maintain customer service and we will continue to work with Unite representatives to find a positive and constructive resolution.”

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