Strike planned at Chivas after pay offer rejected

By Matt Atherton

- Last updated on GMT

Workers voted to strike at Chivas' whisky bottling plant in Kilmalid
Workers voted to strike at Chivas' whisky bottling plant in Kilmalid

Related tags Pay offer Pernod ricard

Workers at a Chivas whisky bottling plant will strike on August 7, after rejecting a new pay offer from the distiller.

The Unite union said workers at the Chivas Kilmalid site voted “overwhelmingly”​ for strike action over pay. The union said its members rejected a four-year pay offer of a 1.5% increase in wages in the first year, followed by a three-year rise in line with average inflation, including housing costs (CPIH).

Strike action could be averted if Chivas were to “see sense”​ and improve its pay offer, the union said.

‘Rejected overwhelmingly’

Unite regional co-ordinating officer Elaine Dougall said: “Our members are angry that this offer, which was tabled on July 18 and was rejected overwhelmingly in a ballot by 86%, fails to recognise the contribution our members make to the success of Chivas.

“We will continue to press hard for a settlement to this dispute until the eleventh hour, but our members are clear, they want to see a significantly improved offer and harmonisation of terms and conditions on the table before they will consider withdrawing from industrial action.”

The strike action came after talks between the union and Chivas at the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service broke down, last month. The union accused Chivas of refusing to improve its initial pay offer, and then “brought nothing new to the table”​ at Acas. Workers at the Paisley site also voted for strike action.

A Chivas Brothers spokesman said: “While we’re disappointed that Unite members at our Kilmalid site have decided to take a one day course of industrial action, we’re pleased to confirm that our Paisley and Southern Operations sites have accepted our offer.

“Both decisions come after a period of constructive and transparent negotiation with employee representatives. Our pay offer – which exceeds the rate of inflation in the UK – ensures that our employees have a highly competitive salary and benefits package.”

Slammed by Unite

Meanwhile, in January, Chivas invested £40M to build a new bottling plant at the Kilmalid, Dumbarton, site. Its plan to relocate its bottling operations in Paisley to the new Kilmalid site was slammed by Unite​.

The relocation involved transferring up to 450 jobs, the union said. The move was planned for the end of 2019.

At the time, a Chivas statement said: “We want to ensure the very best possible transition to our new facility. While the official consultation process has now closed, we will hold individual consultation meetings with every employee who wishes to have one.”

Chivas Brothers is a Scotch whisky and gin business, owned by French alcoholic beverage giant Pernod Ricard. Its brands include Absolut Vodka, Beefeater and Malibu.

Chivas Brothers strike action – at a glance

  • Strike at Kilmalid site planned for August 7
  • Workers rejected 1.5% pay rise in first year, followed by a CPIH (inflation including housing costs) average for next three years
  • Strike could be halted if improved offer made, union said

Related topics People & Skills Drinks Services

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