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Union confirms Whyte & Mackay strike dates

Workers are set to walk out of three Whyte & Mackay distilleries on Monday 24 June, 11 days in July and a further two weeks in August, GMB Scotland has confirmed.

Whyte & Mackay Dalmore Distillery
Workers at Whyte & Mackay distilleries (including Dalmore, pictured) have planned a summer of strikes

The industrial action comes following a pay dispute where workers at The Dalmore and Invergordon distilleries in Easter Ross, Tamnavulin, in Speyside, initially rejected an ‘insulting’ pay offer in February, which 94% of GMB members voted against.

Whyte & Mackay upped the pay rise to 6.8%, plus improvement to benefits, but this revised offer was also rejected.

A formal ballot carried out by GMB Scotland saw ‘overwhelming opposition‘ to the new pay offer, with the union branding it ‘an insult’. Across the three distilleries, 82% of members backed industrial action in the ballot with a turnout of more than 80%.

The union added that Whyte & Mackay’s success has been ‘built on the skill and commitment of workers and the offer of 6% to 7% does not match inflation over the last year and is effectively a pay cut’.

The union estimated that an an inflation-matching pay increase will cost £3.3 million (US$4.2m), as Whyte & Mackay’s pre-tax profits for 2022 were £81.3m (US$104m).

Lesley-Anne MacAskill, GMB Scotland organiser in the Highlands, said: “We told Whyte & Mackay today to expect a summer of strike action with our members united and determined their work is fairly recognised.

“Their support for action is overwhelming but unsurprising given the company’s refusal to properly reward them for the work that has helped generate record-breaking profits.

“While Whyte & Mackay celebrate commercial success, our members continue to be paid less than other workers in the industry. Enough is enough.

“The company can be in no doubt our members are prepared for a summer of industrial action to win a fair pay rise.”

A spokesperson for Whyte & Mackay commented: “Negotiations continue. Trade union partners met with us this week for further extended discussion and subsequently a revised offer has been submitted to them for consideration by their members. In the meantime we have prepared plans to mitigate impact to suppliers and customers should strike action take place.”

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