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Diageo boosts pay for Scottish Unite workers

Trade union Unite Scotland has accepted a three-year wage increase deal from Diageo, a move described as setting a “benchmark for the drinks industry”.

Diageo's Cambus Cooperage
Diageo’s Cambus Cooperage, near Alloa in Scotland

The three-year agreement, which will end in 2024, includes a 3% pay rise that covers the last financial year, and an average inflation rate capped at 3.5% starting from year two.

Diageo employees who are members of Unite represent around 500 of the 3,000-strong workforce in distilleries and bottling plants across Scotland, according to the trade union.

Bob MacGregor, Unite industrial officer, said: “The deal is a three-year commitment which ensures our members’ pay does not fall below the cost of living.

“It’s an excellent result for our members who have continued to work tirelessly throughout the pandemic boosting Diageo’s profits. This agreement sets a benchmark for the drinks industry in Scotland, which is recovering following the onset of the pandemic and the recent suspension of US tariffs.

“We hope other companies in the sector will sit up and take notice, and treat their workers fairly.”

Diageo is the world’s largest Scotch whisky distiller, with sites in Cameronbridge, Leven and Shieldhall. The company produces Johnnie Walker blended Scotch, Lagavulin single malt and Oban whisky, among others.

A spokesperson for Diageo said: “We are pleased that our trade unions have confirmed that their members at our sites in Scotland have voted to accept our pay offer.

“The strong pay settlement, negotiated through constructive discussions with both unions, ensures our employees receive an increase on their pay for the next three years, alongside maintaining the competitiveness of our operations.”

In August 2020, Unite Scotland hit out at Diageo’s move to withhold shares from its workers following the release of the company’s fiscal 2020 results.

In March last year, Unite asked Diageo to stop production at its bottling and distilling sites across Scotland amid concerns over the safety and stress levels of workers during the pandemic.

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