Chivas workers enact overtime ban ahead of strike

Chivas Brothers workers who are members of trade unions Unite and GMB are due to go on strike at a number of sites across Scotland at the end of May. The unions said the company had offered a pay freeze, but Chivas Brothers pledged guaranteed pay increases for 2021 and 2022. As such, workers were balloted for strike action by their unions.

More than four fifths of GMB members backed calls for strike action. Chivas Brothers’ Scottish sites maintained full production during the pandemic, GMB noted. The continuous overtime ban came into effect yesterday (26 May).GMB said the move was implemented ahead of ‘crunch talks’ between union representatives and Chivas bosses tomorrow morning through ACAS. GMB added that the discussions were ‘critical’ and could mean strike action is dodged over the summer months.

“Chivas has the money, there’s no need whatsoever to impose a real-terms pay cut on their workers across Scotland, and strike action can be avoided if management tables an improved offer this Friday,” said GMB Scotland organiser Keir Greenaway. “These dedicated workers have helped this company see through what will hopefully prove to be the worst of the Covid-19 pandemic, maintaining full production across Scottish operations, and stabilising the business.”

The industrial action would affect Chivas’ key Scottish production sites, including the Kilmalid bottling hall, Strathclyde grain distillery, and maturation sites in Speyside, Clydebank and Ayrshire.Greenaway added: “There is also great confidence among Chivas executives in the long-term growth of the Scotch whisky industry and GMB members are the foundation for this optimism – it would be wrong on the employer’s part to ignore the people they cannot do without.

“Chivas can end this dispute on Friday by bringing forward a better offer that is worthy of our members’ consultation.”

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