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Diageo Scotland strike action suspended after new offer

Strike action has been suspended across Diageo’s Scottish operations after both Unite and GMB Scotland unions came to an agreement with the Johnnie Walker maker last night (Tuesday).

Diageo has tabled a new offer for Scottish workers, meaning strike action has been suspended

Diageo faced disruption to its Scottish distilleries and bottling plant from yesterday (17 September) as workers walked out over pay disputes.

On 23 August, 80.5% of GMB Scotland members at Diageo voted in favour of strike action after rejecting a 2.8% “final offer” pay increase for more than 3,000 Scottish workers.

However, strike action is now on hold after Diageo tabled a new offer last night.

The agreement is for a two-year deal, which includes a 3% pay increase in the first year. The second year includes an RPI increase with a commitment from Diageo to put in place a performance-based incentive bonus.

The agreement will be subject to a ballot by members of both unions.

Both unions and Diageo have also pledged to take part in talks to agree a new “collective agreement” for future years.

Keir Greenaway, GMB Scotland organiser, and Stevie Deans, United Scotland officer, said in a joint statement: “We are pleased that on the brink of strike action, Diageo tabled an offer that we feel merits our members’ consultation.

“The offer is a two-year commitment on pay and also sets out a time frame for the negotiation of a new collective agreement.

“Our strike action is now suspended while a full consultative ballot of our members takes place on the offer.”

The industrial action had been scheduled to take place at all of Diageo’s maturation sites and distilleries, excluding Cameronbridge Distillery and Leven, from 17-18 September and 26-27 September. Strike action would also have affected the Shieldhall bottling plant from 19-20 September and 26-27 September.

Workers intended to take strike action at grain distillery Cameronbridge and Leven on 18-19 September and 26-27 September.

In its 2019 full-year financial results, Diageo reported a 5.8% net sales increase to £12.9 billion (US$16bn). The results also showed 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 rise for Diageo chief executive officer Ivan Menezes, which took his salary to £11.7 million (US$14.2m)

A Diageo spokesperson said: “Following further negotiations today, our improved offer has been recommended for acceptance by both the GMB and Unite unions and strike action has been suspended.

“We are pleased to have reached agreement on a good, fair offer that ensures our employees can receive an increase on their pay while maintaining the competitiveness of our operations.”

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