Union to fight pay cuts at Burton Carling plant

By Mike Stones

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Molson coors brewing company, Beer, Brewing, Molson coors

Unite is to convene a mass meeting of Molson Coors’ workers this Thursday to discuss the union’s response to the brewe’'s consultation
Unite is to convene a mass meeting of Molson Coors’ workers this Thursday to discuss the union’s response to the brewe’'s consultation
Britain’s biggest union Unite has pledged to battle plans to chop the wages of 184 brewery technicians at the Molson Coors’ Burton-on-Trent plant by up to £9,000-a-year.

The manufacturer of Carling lager has started a 90-day consultation on a package of measures, which the union claims would result in cuts to pay, and terms and conditions for the 455-strong workforce.

Unite regional officer Rick Coyle said: “We have told the company we will accept no imposed changes, but will work hard to reach a solution.

“We have explained we will ballot for action midway through the 90-day consultation process, so we are ready for strike action if there is not a satisfactory resolution.”

‘Radical new shift patterns’

The union said the proposed measures include radical new shift patterns with 30 days annual leave. That would leave 335 days when staff were either working, or at home and contactable to come into work at 23 hours’ notice.

Coyle said: “The company’s proposals are completely unacceptable and one of the proposals could mean that nearly 200 brewery technicians losing up to £9,000-a-year.

“The company is profitable and we believe that with proper discussions and goodwill, we can achieve the efficiencies that management is seeking, without cuts to our members’ pay and conditions.”

A mass meeting of Unite members has been organised for this Thursday (March 21) at Burton town hall at 6.30pm.

Carling, Grolsh, Coors Lite and Cobra lagers

Unite represents the vast majority of the staff at the site, which produces Carling, Grolsh, Coors Lite and Cobra lagers. It also produces beers including Worthington, White Shield and Stones.

No one from the brewer was available to speak to FoodManufacture.co.uk.

Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with 1.5M members working across all sectors of the economy.

Meanwhile, recent research by Molson Coors revealed that of the £1.07 cost of a 500ml can of Carling lager, 57p is paid to the government.

Alcohol duty accounts for 39p, while VAT claims 18p.

Conservative MP for Burton and Uttoxeter Andrew Griffiths, chairman of a cross-party beer group, said: “The hated beer tax is making beer a luxury. At a time of austerity, we shouldn’t be making one of life’s simple pleasures unaffordable. It’s time that George Osborne scrapped the beer duty escalator and gave Britain’s drinkers a break.”

But it was help with rising energy costs, a curb on red tape and easier access to finance that topped a Budget Wish List​ survey of the food and drink industry conducted by FoodManufacture.co.uk.

Related topics: Drinks

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