Unite claims victory in Molson Coors dispute

By Rod Addy

- Last updated on GMT

Workers had previously voted by 97% in favour of a strike at the Burton-on-Trent brewery
Workers had previously voted by 97% in favour of a strike at the Burton-on-Trent brewery

Related tags Molson coors Molson coors brewing company

Strike action has been averted at Molson Coors' Burton-on-Trent brewery in an eleventh hour pay deal, with union Unite claiming victory for spearheading the campaign.

Unrest at the site, which makes brands including Carling lager and Worthington beer, began in March. They followed proposals to slash the pay of 184 brewery technicians by up to £9,000 a year and radically change shift patterns, accompanied by a 90-day consultation period.

Unite said its members had voted to accept a second revised package put forward by the management after rejecting one proposal in a ballot, results of which were announced on July 1.

Workers had previously voted by 97% in favour of strike action, based on the position of management in May. However, Molson Coors itself remained resolutely optimistic that a solution could be reached.

Terms of the deal

The approved deal includes: 

  • pay reduction of £862 from 1 January 2014 and £862 from 1 January 2015 for all workers previously facing cuts of up to £9,000 a year in their pay; 
  • generous severance and redundancy payments available for all workers facing a pay cut; 
  • radical proposals that shifts could have been changed at 24 hours notice and workers could have been called in while on holiday have been completely withdrawn; 
  • pay protection not only fully retained, but temporarily improved until 2017.

As a result, staff wages had now been guaranteed for at least five years, possibly longer, said Unite.


"This workforce stunned Molson Coors by the strength, determination and scale of the solidarity they displayed,"​ said Unite regional officer Rick Coyle. 

“The 97 per cent vote in favour of strike action will never be forgotten. Unite is proud to have delivered an honourable outcome for members in a dire situation that originally saw some workers face losing their homes." ​ 

In addition to Carling and Worthington, the Burton plant also produces Grolsch, Coors Lite and Cobra lagers, plus White Shield and Stones beer.

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