More Diageo workers vote for strike action in pay dispute

Members of trade union GMB Scotland working for Diageo have voted for strike action a week after Unite Scotland members also voted in favour of the measure.

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In a decision announced on 23 August, Diageo workers that are members of GMB Scotland voted in favour of strike action after a long-running pay dispute.

80.5% of members supported the decision to strike and reject Diageo’s improved pay offer of 2.8%, calling on the drinks giant to “get real on pay”.

The statement said that the strike action would “severely affect Diageo’s bottling, maturation and distillery operations across Scotland”, including the production of brands such as Johnnie Walker, Gordon’s and Smirnoff.

Keir Greenaway, GMB Scotland organiser, said: “This should be a wake-up call for Diageo – their credibility is really on the line against the backdrop of the recent financial results.

“A huge chunk of Diageo’s reputation is built on the back of Scotland and the communities across the country that distil, mature, store and bottle their lucrative range of whiskies and white spirits.

“Their continued failure to table an offer that properly reflects the significant contribution these workers make to the success of this company really does show how out of touch the fat cats are in the Diageo hierarchy.

“Diageo need to get real on pay and show our members the respect they deserve. If any company can afford to reward their employees with a wage rise that beats the cost of living then it’s Diageo.”

The statement criticised Diageo’s pay offer which came on the back of its financial results, which reported net sales of £12.9 billion in the year to 30 June 2019, up 5.8% on the figure recorded last year.

A spokesperson for Diageo said: “The GMB union have confirmed that their members have voted in favour of strike action at our sites in Scotland and we await confirmation of their next steps.

“We have well developed contingency plans in the event of industrial action but remain committed to seeking a resolution and ensuring our employees receive an increase on their pay, alongside maintaining the competitiveness of our operations.

“We are a very good employer and aim to ensure our staff are rewarded competitively; our pay and benefits for our bargaining group employees are in the top quartile for manufacturing in Scotland.”

The news follows the announcement that members of Unite Scotland at three of Diageo’s sites had voted in support of strike action, after holding a ballot between 29 July to 16 August.

Members at Diageo’s Leven, Cameronbridge and Shieldhall plants voted for strike action, with Unite Scotland warning that operations could “grind to a halt” as a result.

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