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Carling workers vote in favour of strikes

Employees at the Molson Coors brewery in Burton-on-Trent have voted in favour of strike action, in a dispute over pay and conditions.

The Unite union said its members at the brewery voted by a margin of 97% in favour of strike action, although no dates have yet been set for the strikes, to allow talks to continue.

Unite said that the dispute “centres on the 455-strong workforce at the brewery being sacked after 10 June and reemployed on inferior pay and conditions.”

Unite regional officer Rick Coyle said: “The overwhelming vote in favour of strike action shows the strength of feeling at the way the company has behaved towards its loyal workforce.

“Talks are carrying on today (Wednesday). The management has engaged in a constructive dialogue and Unite is seeking a settlement that is fair to our members – and we are working very hard to achieve that end.

”Until these talks have concluded – and depending on the outcome – the union won’t be announcing any strike dates.”

A Molson Coors spokesman said: “Clearly we are disappointed by today’s announcement. However, this vote does not make strike action a certainty given that negotiations are ongoing.

“We continue our engagement in meaningful consultation with Unite and its members so that we come to a solution that supports a competitive future for Burton brewery and is fair to our employees.

“As a company we have strong contingency plans in place to ensure that we can fulfil our customers’ orders.

“The proposals we put to workers are part of tough decisions that we have taken across the whole business, which are necessary to ensure a sustainable future for Molson Coors in Burton.”

Unite has argued that Molson Coors is a profitable company, which benefited from George Osborne’s recent reduction in beer duty, and that there was no financial imperative for the proposed cuts.

The Burton plant produces Carling, Grolsch, Coors Lite and Cobra lagers, as well as beers including Worthington, White Shield and Stones.

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