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Union starts strike ballot among Whisky workers over ‘corporate greed’

GMB SCOTLAND has begun to ballot whisky workers for strike action at Chivas Brothers after the introduction of a pay freeze due to “corporate greed.”

Discussions between the union and the company took place earlier this month through conciliation service Acas, but GMB said that talks collapsed when management suggested they were unwilling to lift the pay freeze.

GMB said that this was despite Chivas Brothers’ parent company Pernod Ricard awarding pay rises to its workers in France earlier this year.

The ballot runs until May 10, with industrial action potentially impacting the firm’s Scottish operations as early as the end of that month.

GMB Scotland represents workers in the sector at many sites including Kilmalid bottling hall, Strathclyde grain distillery, the Glenlivet distillery, and maturation sites in Speyside, Clydebank and Ayrshire.

GMB organiser Keir Greenaway said: “Despite the many challenges that have faced the whisky industry over the past year, from Brexit to US tariffs and [the Covid-19] pandemic, the efforts of Chivas workers in Scotland have kept the profits rolling in for Pernod Ricard.

“These pay negotiations were an opportunity for the company to reward the workers for their substantial efforts with a pay offer that reflects the value of their contribution to the success of the business.

“It’s not right that Chivas workers in Scotland should be treated like second-class citizens, taking real-terms cuts to their pay while their Pernod Ricard colleagues in France have rightly been awarded a pay rise.

“This is about standing up to corporate greed in the fight for proper value.”

Chivas, which produces whisky brands including Ballantine’s, Glenlivet, Royal Salute and Aberlour, has been contacted for comment.

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