Unite the union has today (Thursday 25 July) slammed the actions of Diageo after the company announced an increase in pre-tax profits to £4.2 billion. The union also confirmed yesterday (24 July) confirmed that talks mediated through the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (Acas) have collapsed with Diageo following two rounds of talks.

Diageo announced its increase in pre-tax profits and confirmed a marketing spend which increased by 8 per cent to over £2 billion over the last year. The company’s brands include Smirnoff, Bailey’s, Johnnie Walker, Guinness, Tanqueray and Gordon's gin.

Unite will also now ballot more than 500 workers across all Diageo sites including Leven, Cameron Bridge and Shieldhall from 29 July. The ballots will close on 16 August. If the ballots are successful it is likely that discontinuous strike action will take place from late August to November.

The dispute relates to the annual pay award with Unite’s membership overwhelmingly rejecting a derisory pay offer of 2.5 per cent with an increase in product allowance made to the workforce. The workforce voted by 95 per cent to reject the company’s pay offer. During the Acas talks the company made a new offer 2.8 per cent pay award through the consolidation of the product allowance, which has been considered insignificant by Unite’s Diageo membership.

Unite regional industrial officer Bob McGregor said: “Diageo’s announcement of an increase in pre-tax profits to £4.2 billion in the last year has been built on the hard work of its workforce. The company seem more than happy to increase its marketing budget by eight per cent but refuse to give their workforce an increase anywhere close to that figure. This is a shameful position. It is only right that the workers benefit from the success and Diageo can easily avoid industrial action by making our members a fair offer.”

ENDS

For further information contact Bob Macgregor on 07711376918.

Notes to editors:

  • Unite Scotland is the country's biggest and most diverse trade union with around 150,000 members. The union is led in Scotland by Pat Rafferty.