Strike action not inevitable says Carling after mass vote

By Mike Stones

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Molson coors Molson coors brewing company

Strike action was not inevitable, said Carling, after 97% of workers voted in favour of industrial action last night
Strike action was not inevitable, said Carling, after 97% of workers voted in favour of industrial action last night
Strike action was not inevitable at Carling’s Molson Coors brewery in Burton-on-Trent, said the brewer, after workers voted overwhelmingly for industrial action.

Employees at the Molson Coors brewery, who face being sacked and reinstated on inferior pay and conditions, voted overwhelmingly for strike action, said the union Unite.

“The workers voted by a margin of 97% in favour of strike action in the dispute over the management’s proposals, which include axing the wages of 184 brewery technicians by up to £9,000-a-year,”​ said the union.

The dispute centres on the 455-strong workforce at the brewery being sacked after June 10 and re-employed on inferior pay and conditions, claimed the union.

‘Disappointed by the announcement’

But a Molson Coors’ spokesman hoped last-minute talks would help to avert a strike: “Clearly we are disappointed by the announcement ​[of the vote in favour of a strike]. However, this vote does not make strike action a certainty, given that negotiations are ongoing.

“We continue our engagement in meaningful consultation with Unite and its members so that we come to a solution that supports a competitive future for Burton brewery and is fair to our employees.”

He added that the company had “strong contingency plans”​ in place to ensure that it could fulfil customers’ orders. Talks between the management of Britain’s biggest brewery and Unite, the country’s largest union were continuing today (Wednesday, 29 May).

Unite regional officer Rick Coyle said: “The overwhelming vote in favour of strike action shows the strength of feeling at the way the company has behaved towards its loyal workforce.

‘A constructive dialogue’

Coyle said the management had engaged in “a constructive dialogue”​ and that the union was seeking a settlement that was fair to its members.

”Until these talks have concluded – and depending on the outcome ​the union won’t be announcing any strike dates,”​ said Coyle.

The union said a mass rally of the workers held at Burton Albion football club last night (Tuesday 28 May) welcomed the ballot result with cheers of approval.

It argued that Molson Coors was a highly profitable company, which has benefited greatly from the recent reduction in beer duty. Also, there was no financial imperative for the allegedly swingeing cuts in pay and conditions, it added.

The Molson Coors’ spokesman said: “The proposals we put to workers are part of tough decisions that we have taken across the whole business, which are necessary to ensure a sustainable future for Molson Coors in Burton.”

The Burton plant produces the lagers: Carling, Grolsch, Coors Lite and Cobra lagers, plus beers such as: Worthington, White Shield and Stones.

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