Whisky manufacturer strike suspended while workers vote on pay offer

By William Dodds

- Last updated on GMT

Strike action had been scheduled to start on 11 December 2023. Credit: Getty / PeopleImages
Strike action had been scheduled to start on 11 December 2023. Credit: Getty / PeopleImages

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Planned strike action at multiple Chivas Brothers facilities has been suspended after the manufacturer made a new pay offer.

Unite the union confirmed on 5 December 2023 that the Scottish whisky manufacturer had brought forward a new pay offer which will now be put to its 500 members in a ballot.

Strike action had been scheduled to take place from Monday 11 to Thursday 14 December, with 91.2% of the union’s membership working for Chivas Brothers voting in support of industrial action​. However, all planned strike action has been suspended while the workers vote on the new deal.

Unite is the main union at the company representing workers at the Kilmalid, Dalmuir, Beith, Strathclyde Grain and Strathisla distilleries, and Dumbuck warehouse facility among others. Fellow union GMB Scotland represents a further 300 Chivas Brothers workers who also voted in favour of strike action prior to the new pay offer.

Unite industrial officer Andy Brown, said: “Unite has been in intense negotiations with Chivas Brothers since we announced our rolling programme of strike action. Following the latest round of talks we have agreed to put a new pay offer to our 500-strong Chivas Brothers membership for consideration.

Unite has taken the decision to suspend all forthcoming industrial action until our membership has had the opportunity to vote on the merits of this new offer.​”

Chivas Brothers employs around 1,500 people across Scotland. The company produces whisky for brands including Chivas Regal, Aberlour, Ballantine's, Royal Salute and The Glenlivet.

In response to the suspension of strike action, a Chivas Brothers spokesperson said: “While the results of the official ballot are still pending, we are pleased that constructive talks have enabled us to re-engage with the unions on our original proposal, and reach a mutually-agreeable position that avoids unnecessary strike action and limits the long-term impact of this dispute on our team.

"Our offer reflects our ongoing commitment to sharing our success throughout the company, while recognising the normalising business and economic environment for the year ahead. We are a resilient business. Reaching this agreement means we can now continue to focus on our main business objective, which is the continued supply of our world-renowned whiskies to consumers all over the world​.”

In other news, Carlsberg Marston’s Brewing Company (CMBC) has announced plans to close Ringwood Brewery.

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