Whisky company staff to be balloted on strike action

The GMB said 300 of its members at The Edrington Group and Macallan will be balloted on walkouts from March 1 until March 22.

Whisky company staff to be balloted on strike action iStock

Staff at one of Scotland’s premier whisky companies could take strike action over pay rates for anti-social working hours, a union has warned.

The GMB said 300 of its members at The Edrington Group and Macallan, which produces some of Scotland’s most well-known whiskies, will be balloted on walkouts over a failure to agree a new shift allowance.

Workers at two manufacturing sites, in Glasgow and near Dufftown in Moray, will be balloted from March 1 until March 22, with any agreed industrial action possibly taking place in early April, the union said.

GMB said it served statutory notice of the ballot on employers on Wednesday after months of consultation with conciliation service Acas.

The union claims The Edrington Group – which makes Famous Grouse and Highland Park – is in good health and “bounced back spectacularly” from the pandemic last year.

GMB Scotland organiser David Hume said: “The boardroom and shareholders are enjoying the benefits of this in their bumper remuneration packages and dividends.

“This resilience and recovery are built on the back of its workforce and the premium brands they produce day-in and day-out. Our members across Scotland are the fulcrum of this success and it’s only right that they enjoy a fair share of the spoils in their terms and conditions.

“That senior management have failed to recognise this significant contribution through a proper shift allowance for workers who keep the products flowing is deeply regrettable.

“Let’s be clear, we are talking about the equivalent of a drop in the ocean from the sales and profits generated last year.

“This is a dedicated and loyal workforce, and the real prospect of industrial action is not something they are taking lightly, but this ballot is a direct response to management’s chronic intransigence and a clear demonstration of their desire to make work better across Edrington.”

A spokesperson for Edrington said: “We are disappointed that the GMB Union has decided to ballot its members on industrial action after a protracted period of negotiation including discussions at Acas over shift allowances.

“GMB members who have moved to the new shift arrangements will see their earnings increase by a minimum of 27.8% compared with 16 months ago. We urge our employees to reject the proposed industrial action and join us in negotiations to reach a further fair and competitive wage agreement.”

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