Workers’ union Unite has confirmed strike dates for more than 500 of its members across Pernod Ricard’s Chivas Brothers facilities in Scotland next month.
The strikes will involve a series of 24-hour stoppages between 11 and 14 December.
A ballot on action last week received the backing of more than 90% of votes from staff at the Chivas Brothers production site, Unite said.
In a statement today (28 November), Unite said: “The strike action will involve a series of 24-hour stoppages across various Chivas Brothers facilities between Monday 11 to Thursday 14 December.
“An overtime ban and short-notice shifts ban will also be in effect from 11 December.”
In October, members of the Unite and GMB unions rejected an offer from Pernod Ricard for a 6.4% pay rise. Unite said at the time it would ballot its members on possible strike action unless progress was made in pay talks.
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The union called the offer a “real terms pay cut” and said “inflation stood at 11.3% when the workers’ pay increase should have been implemented”.
It pointed to Chivas Brothers’ 17% increase in full-year total net sales between July 2022 and June 2023, which takes the company to a 10-year high.
A Chivas Brothers spokesperson told Just Drinks it remains committed to its pay rise offer, as the proposed amount “combined with last year’s increase” would see salaries climb above the Consumer Prices Index and Consumer Prices Index excluded housing and council taxes.
“While we remain open to constructive dialogue to see this matter reach a fair and reasonable resolution, we have already put in place the necessary measures to ensure our continued business operations, minimising any impact to our customers around the world.”
Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “Chivas Brothers has made eye-watering profits and it can easily afford to offer our members a significantly better offer. Its failure to make a fair offer is a classic example of a company putting profits before people.”
She added: “The workers at Chivas will receive the union’s complete support.”
Andrew Brown, Unite’s industrial officer, said the union “repeatedly warned Chivas Brothers that strike action is inevitable unless the current pay offer was improved. It has not listened to our members and now industrial action is a matter of weeks away”.
He added the strike “will have a major impact on the company’s ability to supply premier brands over the festive season”.
The Chivas Regal maker said: “Considering the proximity to the festive season, and our business resilience plans, we are confident the planned action will have no impact on end-of-year orders, much of which has already shipped globally.”
Reporting its full-year financial results in August, Pernod Ricard posted a 10% rise in organic sales and an 11% increase in underlying operating profit for the year to the end of June.
Group net sales rose 13% to €12.14bn ($13.19bn). Profit from recurring operations was up 11% at €3.35bn. Net profit was 12% higher at €2.28bn.
Chivas employs around 1,500 workers in Scotland. The company produces Scotch whisky premier brands including Chivas Regal, Aberlour, Ballantine’s, Royal Salute and The Glenlivet.
Unite is the main union at the company representing workers at the Kilmalid, Dalmuir, Beith, Strathclyde Grain and Strathisla distilleries, and Dumbuck warehouse facility among others.