Workers’ trade union Unite has halted planned industrial action at Pernod Ricard’s Chivas Brothers sites in Scotland, following a new pay rise proposal from the Scotch whisky producer.
A Unite spokesperson told Just Drinks the group could not disclose offer details until it had been viewed by all of its members, “which is in process”.
The spokesperson added the proposed raise is “no less than what was previously rejected along with a one-off payment”.
Industrial action will be paused until all members have voted in what the union called a “consultative ballot”.
In a statement sent to Just Drinks, a Chivas Brothers spokesperson said the talks had been “constructive”, allowing the group “to re-engage with the unions on our original proposal, and reach a mutually-agreeable position that avoids unnecessary strike action and limits the long-term impact of this dispute on our team.”
They added: “Our offer reflects our ongoing commitment to sharing our success throughout the company, while recognising the normalising business and economic environment for the year ahead.
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“We are a resilient business. Reaching this agreement means we can now continue to focus on our main business objective, which is the continued supply of our world-renowned whiskies to consumers all over the world.”
The news comes following Unite’s announcement last week that more than 500 of its members across the Chivas Brothers facilities in Scotland would go on strike between 11 and 14 December.
More than 90% of workers voted in favour of 24-hour stoppages after nearly 100% declined Pernod’s proposal of a 6.4% pay raise in October.
Unite called the offer a “real terms pay cut”, with inflation standing at 11.3% at the time the offer was made.
The union represents workers at Chivas Brothers’ Dumbuck warehouse, as well as distilleries at locations including Dalmuir, Beith, Strathclyde Grain, Kilmalid and Strathisla.
In a statement, Unite industrial officer Andy Brown, said the group had “been in intense negotiations with Chivas Brothers”, in light of the strike action announcement last week.
He added: “Following the latest round of talks we have agreed to put a new pay offer to our 500-strong Chivas Brothers membership for consideration.
“Unite has taken the decision to suspend all forthcoming industrial action until our membership has had the opportunity to vote on the merits of this new offer.”
Some 1,500 workers are employed by Chivas Brothers in Scotland. The Pernod-owned group makes a range of Scotch whisky brands such as The Glenlivet, Chivas Regal, Aberlour, Ballantine’s and Royal Salute.
Pernod Ricard saw a 10% boost in organic sales and a 11% hike in underlying operating profit in its full-year results released in August.
Group net sales reached €12.14bn ($13.19bn), an increase of 13%. Recurring operations profit grew 11% at €3.35bn, while net profit was 12% greater, hitting €2.28bn.
Earlier this year, the company also committed to investing £60m (£75.7m) at Chivas Brothers to cut energy and carbon emissions and develop “carbon neutral distillation” by 2026.