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Chivas Brothers and Unite settle pay dispute

Pernod Ricard-owned Chivas Brothers has reached an agreement with Unite after union members voted to strike over a pay dispute.

Unite members were balloted on whether or not to strike from the end of October and in November 91.2% of those who voted did so in favour of striking ahead of the Christmas period in a move which threatened to disrupt supplies of Chivas Regal, The Glenlivet and Royal Salute.

Today it was announced that the union and whisky producer have reached an agreement which constitutes a 6.4% pay increase effective from 1 July 2023 as well as a one-off £500 payment. Unite also notes that in “year two” pay increases will “consist of the average inflation figure over the course of the year running until July 2024”. Strike action was first threatened on 17 October after 97% of the membership rejected a 6.4% pay rise.

Despite the 6.4% pay rise (excluding the one-off £500 payment) being the same as what Chivas Brothers offered in October, Unite general secretary Sharon Graham toasted the resolution as a success: “It was only down to the fact that our 500 strong membership at Chivas Brothers were prepared to fight and take strike action that the company came back to the negotiating table. The pay deal is another example of Unite delivering better jobs, pay and conditions for its members.”

Unite industrial officer Andy Brown called the deal a “significant improvement to the pay packets of our Chivas Brothers membership” and suggested that it would help members to “cope with the ongoing cost-of-living crisis”.

Unite members working at Chivas Brothers’ Kilmalid, Dalmuir, Beith, Strathclyde Grain and Strathisla distilleries and Dumbuck warehouse have now ceased their programme of 24 hour stoppages.

In response to the resolution, a Chivas Brothers spokesperson said: “We are pleased that following the latest ballot, employees covered by bargaining agreements have now voted to accept our revised proposal, which avoids unnecessary strike action. The new deal includes an acceptance of our original pay proposal and enhanced benefits, along with the security of a two-year agreement. We are looking forward to continuing to work closely with all our employees to deliver our main business objective, which is the continued supply of our world-renowned whiskies to consumers all over the world.”

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