The beer tax cut should prompt Molson Coors to rethink its proposed slashing of pay and conditions at its Burton-on-Trent plant, Unite, the country’s largest union, said today (Friday 22 March).
Last night (Thursday), a meeting of more than 300 workers at Burton town hall reinforced the message to the management to reconsider its package of proposals, which includes axing the wages of 184 brewery technicians by up to £9,000-a-year.
The meeting voted unanimously for Unite to proceed with a ballot for strike action. A further meeting will be held at the town hall at 18:30 on Monday (25 March) for those shift workers unable to make last night’s gathering.
Unite said that the company – makers of Carling lager – had been campaigning for a reduction in beer duty which had now been heard by the chancellor George Osborne, who in the budget, scrapped the planned 3p rise in beer duty and reduced the duty by 1p.
Unite regional officer Rick Coyle said: “Molson Coors had made great play for the need to reduce beer duty to help its profitability, now that has happened, management should reconsider its punitive plans to cut the pay and conditions of staff.”
The firm has already initiated the 90-day consultation which could see the introduction of a radical package resulting in cuts to pay, and terms and conditions for the 455-strong workforce.
Rick Coyle said: “At last night’s meeting, members were adamant that they would not contemplate this drastic cut to their pay and terms and conditions; especially at a time when household bills are going through the roof.
“Members voted unanimously for Unite to prepare for a strike ballot, so we are ready for industrial action if there is not a satisfactory outcome. However, Unite will work hard to achieve a fair and equitable solution to this dispute.”
The workers have been given notice of radical new shift patterns with 30 days annual leave - leaving 335 days either working, or at home and contactable to come into work at 23 hours notice.
The Burton plant produces Carling, Grolsh, Coors Lite and Cobra lagers, as well as beers including Worthington, White Shield and Stones.
For further information please contact Rick Coyle on 07711 594314 and/or Unite senior communications officer Shaun Noble on 07768 693940
- Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with 1.5 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.