Whisky distillery staff to strike in pay dispute

Man in blue checkered shirt, jeans and baseball cap walks by a wall of stacked whisky barrels in a distillery
[Getty Images]

Distillery workers at whisky maker Whyte & Mackay are due to walk out next week after rejecting the company's latest pay offer.

The GMB union said staff would strike at three Highland distilleries on Monday, with 11 more days of action in July then a two week walkout in August.

It comes after 84% of union members at the company's Dalmore and Invergordon distilleries in Ross and Cromarty, and Tamnavulin in Moray, voted to reject a pay offer in a ballot, which saw a 90% turnout.

The GMB claimed that Whyte & Mackay had "angered members" by saying that a strike by a small number of staff would have little impact on operations.

GMB Highlands organiser, Lesley-Ann MacAskill said: “The company’s rush to suggest distilleries are somehow less important than bottling and distribution operations was insulting and inflammatory.

“It should instead have been rushing to offer fair pay to our member because without their skill and experience there would be nothing to bottle and nothing to distribute."

GMB members were balloted following what the union said was a pay offer of between 6% and 7%.

The offer was accepted by Whyte & Mackay staff at the company's bottling and distribution sites at Grangemouth, but not the Highland sites.

Whyte & Mackay said its priority was to resolve this dispute.

A spokesperson added: "We do not recognise the substance of the statement regarding the negotiations.

"Whyte and Mackay has acted in accordance with legal advice, and approached the negotiation in an open and transparent manner throughout.

"We continue to engage both our trade union partners to reach a sustainable resolution."

The walkout comes as GMB members at whisky maker Edrington, which makes The Macallan and Famous Grouse, are also being balloted on industrial action in an ongoing pay dispute.