Unite members accept Diageo pay offer after strike action suspended

Members of a union at Diageo’s distilleries have accepted a pay deal after suspending potential strike action.

Members of Unite and GMB across Scotland’s distilleries and bottling plants had been scheduled to stop working for 10 days in a series of rolling strikes last month.

It would have seen almost two-thirds of all Diageo workers walk out, according to representatives of the unions, with around 500 people represented by Unite.

Unite members will now receive 3% for the 2019 annual pay award, backdated to July, with the 2020 award being based on the Retail Price Index figure for May next year.

Bob MacGregor, Unite regional industrial officer, said “Unite is pleased to announce that following a ballot of our membership at all Diageo’s distilleries and bottling plants, the revised pay offer has been accepted.

“The offer is a two-year commitment which ensures our members’ pay does not fall below the cost of living.

“This is the least the workers deserve because it’s their hard work and dedication which has driven Diageo towards record profits.

“Unite hopes this agreement can help press the reset button on our relationship with Diageo and it ensures the company pays its workforce what it deserves in the future, rather than having to be dragged into doing so.”

Scotch whisky
The Diageo Claive Vidiz Scotch whisky collection (David Cheskin/PA)

The ballot for GMB members remains open until next week.

Diageo, which owns Johnnie Walker whisky, Smirnoff vodka and Tanqueray gin, made £4.2 billion in pre-tax profits in the last year, with union representatives saying “performances have improved by every indicator”.

A spokesman for Diageo said: “We are pleased that Unite union members have accepted our pay deal.

“It is a good and strong offer that ensures our employees receive an increase on their pay while maintaining the competitiveness of our operations.

“This enables us to move forward to progress the other aspects of the two-year agreement which will shape the future of our employee relations.”

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