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Diageo braces for strike action

By Staff Reporter

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WHISKY production in Diageo's Moray/Speyside distilleries is facing disruption after unions announced a series of strikes.

GMB Scotland has scheduled a rolling programme of industrial action from September 17 until September 27, affecting the company's operations across Scotland.

Action is due to take place at 19 sites in Moray/Speyside including the Moray House offices in Elgin as well as at Auchroisk, Benrinnes, Cardhu, Cragganmore, Dufftown, Glen Elgin, Glen Spey, Glendullan, Glenlossie, Inchgower, Knockando, Linkwood, Mannochmore, and Roseisle distilleries.

Unions have announced a wave of strike action at Diageo sites across Scotland.
Unions have announced a wave of strike action at Diageo sites across Scotland.

The maltings at Burghead and Roseisle are included, as are the Glendullan Bio Plant and neighbouring Engineering Centre.

Last month, 80.5 per cent of GMB’s members supported moving to industrial action after months of pay talks ended with Diageo tabling a 2.8 per cent final offer.

Members of Unite also rejected the deal.

Arbitration talks collapsed last Friday and the unions served statutory notice to the company on Tuesday. It comes after the drinks giant posted pre-tax profits of over £4.2 billion.

Diageo said it had contingency plans in case of action, but remained committed to resolving the dispute.

GMB Scotland organiser Keir Greenaway said the action was the result of "insatiable corporate greed within the hierarchy of the company".

He said: "Our campaign for a pay deal that beats the cost of living for our members and their families is a modest proposal against the backdrop of Diageo’s absolutely staggering financial results, which workers in Scotland have more than helped to deliver.

"A huge chunk of Diageo’s credibility and success is built on the back of Scotland and the working class and rural communities that distil, mature, store and bottle their lucrative range of whiskies and white spirits.

"It begs the question: Why has the company spent months low-balling unions with pay offers that fail to tackle the cost of living? If any business can afford to make work pay for its employees it is Diageo."

They called for Diageo to "get real" on pay or be hit with a "sustained wave" of strikes.

A Diageo spokesperson said: "We are a very good employer and remain committed to seeking a resolution and ensuring our employees receive an increase on their pay, alongside maintaining the competitiveness of our operations. We have well developed contingency plans in the event of industrial action."

As it stands, strike action is scheduled to take place from September 17-18 and September 26-27. Further dates within the programme are scheduled for sites within the central belt.

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