Irn-Bru stocks 'at risk of drying up' as Barr's drivers announce strikes

Members of the Unite union accused Barr's of inflicting a 'real terms pay cut' on workers.

Workers at the factory where Scotland’s favourite fizzy drink is made have announced they will strike for nine days between August and October in a dispute over pay.

Trucker and shunter drivers at A.G. Barr in Cumbernauld have warned stocks of Irn-Bru will “dry up” after revealing the start of 24-hour stoppages from August 11.

Staff accused the firm – which also manufactures Rubicon, Strathmore Water and Tizer – of inflicting a “real terms pay cut” over a proposed 5% pay increase.

A ballot among members of the Unite union voted 83% in favour of walkouts despite talks through the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service.

The strikes are set to continue once a week until October 6.

Andy Brown, Unite industrial officer said: “Despite our best efforts to resolve this dispute through negotiation, A.G. Barr has not moved beyond 5%.

“The only way it seems they will pay attention is if supplies of its popular products including Irn-Bru start to fizzle out which is exactly what is now on the cards.”

An overtime ban will also begin on August 8, the union said.

Unite added Barr’s was a “cash rich company” with “£52.9m sitting in the bank”.

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

General secretary, Sharon Graham, added: “Supplies of Irn-Bru could dry up in a few weeks due to the key role our members carry out for A.G. Barr.

“The company is cash rich with £52.9m chilling in the bank. Yet, they are offering our members a significant real terms pay cut when they can easily afford to pay more.”

A spokesperson for A.G. Barr said: “We’re disappointed in the decision by around 10 of our Scottish based HGV1 drivers to take industrial action. We made an 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.”

Posted in