Threat to Irn-Bru supplies as driver strike begins

The first in a series of nine 24-hour stoppages begins after workers at Irn Bru factory rejected a 5% pay offer.

Threat to Irn-Bru supplies as driver strike begins at Cumbernauld factory Getty Images

Workers at a plant manufacturing Scotland’s other national drink are going on strike in the first in a series of walkouts over pay.

Around a dozen trucker and shunter drivers at Irn-Bru makers A.G. Barr at the company’s Cumbernauld production and distribution centre are taking part in nine days of strike action each Friday until October 6.

Workers will picket outside the main entrance to the Cumbernauld centre at 5.30am until 8am then at 1pm until 3pm.

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.

Nine days of strike action will start on August 11 with the final stoppage being on October 6. A continuous ban on overtime also began on August 8.

The union warned supplies of Irn Bru will be “directly under threat” due to the walkouts.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham, said: “A.G. Barr can afford to pay itstrucker and shunter drivers far more than the penny-pinching pay cut currently on offer. The drivers are absolutely essential to supplies, including Irn-Bru. 

“The company is cash rich with £52.9m chilling in the bank. We will back our members all the way in their fight for better jobs, pay and conditions.” 

Andy Brown, Unite industrial officer said: “Unite’s members have no option but to take strike action because A.G. Barr stubbornly refuses to give its loyal workforce a fair share of its sparkling profits. There is a steely determination among our members because five per cent just doesn’t cut it.

“The 24-hour strike action will be the first of nine stoppages over the coming weeks. A.G. Barr’s stinginess has escalated this dispute when it could have been easily resolved with a fair pay offer.”

A spokesperson for A.G. Barr said: “We’re disappointed in the decision by 11 of our Scottish based HGV1 drivers, represented by Unite the union, to take industrial action.

“We made a pay offer that we believe is fair and competitive – in line with what has been agreed with our other employees.  

“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 and ACAS to find a positive and constructive resolution.”

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