Strike action threatens summer stocks of Irn-Bru

By Gwen Ridler

- Last updated on GMT

Workers threaten to strike at Irn-Bru maker AG Barr's Cumbernauld production and distribution centre
Workers threaten to strike at Irn-Bru maker AG Barr's Cumbernauld production and distribution centre

Related tags Drinks Irn-bru Strike action

Proposed strike action at AG Barr’s Cumbernauld production and distribution centre threatens to disrupt supplies of Irn-Bru this summer, according to Unite the Union.

A dispute over pay – a pay deal the union claimed was below inflation and a “real terms pay cut”​ – could see around a dozen trucker and shunter drivers down tools.

AG Barr bosses have reportedly offered a 5% increase, down 6.3% from the current RPI rate of 11.3%. The ballot opens today (22 June) and closes on 6 July.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “Imagine a hot summer in Scotland and no supplies of Irn Bru – Scotland’s other national drink – to quench raging Scottish thirsts. Well that’s exactly what’s on the horizon if the management of A.G. Barr don’t revise their current wage offer to Unite members.”

First pay dispute at the site

The disagreement over pay is the first potential dispute in the history of the Cumbernauld factory.

Andy Brown, Unite industrial officer, added: “Unite’s members keep the Cumbernauld factory of AG Barr running smoothly. Without them it will undoubtedly have a big impact on production and distribution.”

An AG Barr spokesman said it believed the deal offered was fair and competitive and also in line with what has been agreed with its other employees.

"As well as this year's pay offer, we gave the majority of our front line workers, including our HGV1 drivers, two additional payments across the last year totalling £1,500, to support cost of living challenges,”​ spokesman added.

Contingency plans in place

"We will continue to engage with those involved with a view to finding a positive and constructive resolution, however we do have contingency plans in place to maintain customer service."

Disruption to drinks supplies has been threatened as a result of strikes carried out by union members in recent months.

Strike action at Coca-Cola Europacific Partner’s Wakefield site threatened to disrupt supplies of the drinks firms’ most famous brands this summer​, claims Unite the Union.

Meanwhile, the end of 2022 saw AG Barr announce two acquisitions – the remaining shares in Moma Foods​ for £3.5m and Boost Holdings in a deal worth £20m.

Related topics People & Skills Drinks

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