Diageo workers to resume strike action

By Gwen Ridler

- Last updated on GMT

Diageo engineers in Leven will go on strike tonight
Diageo engineers in Leven will go on strike tonight

Related tags Drink Industrial action

Engineers at Diageo’s plant in Leven are to resume strike action tonight (24 February) and over the weekend as Unite explores legal action against the drinks giant in a dispute over contracts and pay.

Strike action will begin at 7pm tonight and conclude on Monday 27 February at 6am, directly impacting engineering support for the bottling plant. Unite believed that it would be unsafe for the plant to run without the support its engineering members provide.

The union’s members will also hold a protest outside the Johnnie Walker Experience in Edinburgh from 12pm to 2.30pm on Saturday 25 February.

Absolutly resolute

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “Unite’s engineering members at Diageo’s Leven plant are absolutely resolute in taking this multi-billion company head on. The weekend strike action will resume.

“Diageo should be under no illusions that our members are utterly resolute about securing a deal in this dispute. Unite stands with our members in their fight against the stunning corporate greed at Diageo.”

This latest round of industrial action at the Leven plant comes amid claims by Unite that Diageo employees have been unlawfully induced by the company to sign new contracts. If substantiated, the union said it would represent a significant escalation in the dispute at the site and that it is now actively exploring all legal options.

A Diageo spokesperson said: “We strongly refute Unite’s claims that we have bypassed the collective consultation process. We are still committed to seeking a resolution with the very small number of employees who continue to take industrial action. In the meantime, our Leven site continues to operate safely.”

'Shocking behaviour'

Bob Macgregor, Unite industrial officer, added: “The behaviour by Diageo has been nothing less than shocking during this pay dispute. Let’s remember that we are dealing with one of the UK’s richest companies who could very easily resolve this dispute with their billion-pound profits.

“We have one simple message to Diageo: our members will not be intimidated and they are determined to fight on.”

Unite first raised grievance with Diageo in 2019 regarding the introduction of a lower rate of pay for new starters without consulting with unions, and issue that remains ongoing.

Meanwhile, Unite members at AB Agri’s mills across the UK are being balloted for strike action over pay,​after rejecting a ‘significant real terms pay cut’.

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