Diageo GMB workers join strike action in Scotland

28th August, 2019 by Nicola Carruthers

A strike is set to “severely affect” Diageo’s operations across Scotland after a second trade union voted in favour of industrial action.

Diageo’s Cambus Cooperage in Scotland

On Friday (23 August), 80.5% of GMB Scotland workers at Diageo supported a move for strike action following “months of pay talks”. The UK drinks giant proposed a 2.8% ‘final offer’ pay increase for more than 3,000 Scottish workers.

GMB said the vote followed Diageo’s fiscal 2019 financial results, which reported pre-tax profits of more than £4.2 billion (US$5.1bn), a share buyback programme worth £4.5bn (US$5.5bn) and a 30% pay increase for chief executive Ivan Menezes, taking his total pay to £11.7 million (US$14.2m).

Keir Greenaway, GMB Scotland organiser, said: “This should be a wake-up call for Diageo – their credibility is really on the line against the backdrop of the recent financial results.

“A huge chunk of Diageo’s reputation is built on the back of Scotland and the communities across the country that distil, mature, store and bottle their lucrative range of whiskies and white spirits.

“Their continued failure to table an offer that properly reflects the significant contribution these workers make to the success of this company really does show how out of touch the fat cats are in the Diageo hierarchy.

“Diageo need to get real on pay and show our members the respect they deserve. If any company can afford to reward their employees with a wage rise that beats the cost of living then it’s Diageo.”

A spokesperson for Diageo said: “The GMB union have confirmed that their members have voted in favour of strike action at our sites in Scotland and we await confirmation of their next steps.

“We have well-developed contingency plans in the event of industrial action but remain committed to seeking a resolution and ensuring our employees receive an increase on their pay, alongside maintaining the competitiveness of our operations.

“We are a very good employer and aim to ensure our staff are rewarded competitively; our pay and benefits for our bargaining group employees are in the top quartile for manufacturing in Scotland.”

Earlier this month, Unite Scotland workers at Diageo’s three Scottish plants voted in favour of strike action.

Employees across the Leven, Cameronbridge and Shieldhall plants will now move forward with strike action, which is expected to take place from September to November.

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