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Whisky firm workers to be balloted on strike action over pay dispute

Workers at Chivas Brothers, represented by GMB Scotland, have overwhelmingly backed industrial action in consultative ballots.

Workers at a Scottish whisky distiller will vote on strike action after talks on pay collapsed.

Workers at Chivas Brothers, represented by GMB Scotland, have overwhelmingly backed industrial action in consultative ballots and a formal vote is scheduled to take place.

Chivas Brothers is best-known for its Chivas Regal whisky brand, but also produces Glenlivet, Ballantine’s and Royal Salute.

The company previously refused to revise a wage rise of 6.4% to staff despite seeing an increase in sales.

GMB Scotland organiser David Hume said the offer was unacceptable, stating it is “no surprise” it was refused by workers.

He said: “Our members are being asked to accept a pay rise that is below the rate of inflation while reading how the owners are celebrating some of the highest sales ever recorded.

“Sales of the whisky made in Scotland are booming around the world but the workers making it are told they must accept an effective pay cut in the middle of a cost-of-living crisis?

“It is no surprise our members have refused that offer and are united in their determination to take the action necessary to secure an offer that fairly reflects the value of their work.”

The company employs about 1,600 workers across Scotland, including at the Kilmalid bottling plant in Dumbarton, Strathclyde Grain Distillery, Glenlivet Distillery and other maturation sites and distilleries in Speyside, Clydebank and Ayrshire.

GMB Scotland said 97% of its members backed strike action in the consultative ballot.

Whisky
Chivas Brothers has several sites around Scotland (David Cheskin/PA)

Alongside fellow union Unite, GMB will formally ballot its members.

The unions will serve notice of the strike action vote just a few weeks after the company reported a 17% increase in net sales, taking sales totals to a 10-year-high.

Chivas Brothers was contacted for comment.

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