Pernod Ricard has received an offer from workers at the Polish vodka distillery that produces its Wyborowa brand to buy the factory from it. However, the company has said it cannot accept the offer.

According to a report by the news agency AFP, workers at the Polish Vodka Wyborowa distillery have made the offer in order to halt a restructuring plan which could see as many as half the plant's jobs axed.

Wyborowa vice-president Andrzej Szumowski told AFP: "The unions have cited a mystery investor and put forward a strange offer to buy Wyborowa on behalf of the workers at a price that is far below what Pernod Ricard paid for the company."

However, he added: "We cannot accept the offer. The distillery is not for sale. The behaviour of the union chiefs raises suspicions that they are seeking to devalue the company."
Production at the Polish Wyborowa distillery was reported yesterday to have been suspended after nine workers began a hunger strike and 80 others, 25% of the total workforce, went on sick leave.

The hunger strikers, who are protesting against the restructuring plan announced by the spirits producer, began their action last week at the distillery in Poznan, in the west of the country.

"We plan to lay off 119 people out of the 248 factory employees at Poznan," Szumowski told AFP Friday. "We are open to negotiation, as soon as the unions give us some serious proposals on how to resolve this conflict. Up to now they have asked for compensation payment of up to 24 months' wages, which we cannot accept."