Brewer seeks solution as staff spurn management offer

By Rod Addy

- Last updated on GMT

The Burton-on-Trent brewery employs 455 people
The Burton-on-Trent brewery employs 455 people

Related tags Molson coors brewing company

Molson Coors is redoubling efforts to avoid industrial action at its brewery in Burton-on-Trent after Unite union members rejected the latest deal on pay and conditions at the site.

A spokesman for Molson Coors Brewing Company said it was “disappointed by today’s news given how far we’ve gone to adopt the changes proposed by Unite".

“We will take the next few days to listen to Unite to better understand the reasons why a ‘yes’ vote was not quite reached and will continue in meaningful consultation so that we can reach a solution that supports a competitive future for Burton brewery and is fair to our employees.

“Both Molson Coors and Unite will continue to work on resolving minor differences so that a solution can be reached during the agreed collective consultation period.”

The ballot result was announced this morning (July 1), as scheduled. “Our members have narrowly rejected a pay deal in a ballot of the workforce,”​ said Unite regional officer Rick Coyle. “We will now be consulting with the Unite reps on the next steps. The union won’t be commenting further until those discussions have taken place.”

Before the vote, workers had requested specific information on shift patterns proposed by management, after what had been described as a ‘radically improved’ pay and conditions deal.

Unite consulting employees on next step

Unite said it would be consulting employees at the site on the next steps. However, in May, 97% of workers voted in favour of strike action at the brewery, which employs 455 staff, in protest over proposed wages, working conditions and the new shift patterns.

Molson Coors told​ later in May that strike action was not inevitable despite the overwhelming vote in favour of it.

“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,”​ a spokesman for Molson-Coors Brewing Company said at the time.

He also moved to reassure customers that the firm had robust contingency plans in place to maintain supplies in the event of a strike.

‘Constructive dialogue’

Coyle had also claimed at the time that management had engaged in “constructive dialogue”​ and that it was seeking an outcome 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,”​ he added.

Unrest at the site was originally sparked in March​ by proposals to slash the pay of 184 brewery technicians by up to £9,000 a year. A 90-day consultation was launched following this and was due to conclude on June 14, but was delayed pending today's ballot results.

Carling, Grolsch, Coors Lite and Cobra lagers are made at the Burton-on-Trent site, as well as Worthington, White Shield and Stones beers.

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