Employees at the Molson Coors brewery in Burton-on-Trent, who face being sacked and reinstated on inferior pay and conditions, have voted overwhelmingly for strike action.
The workers voted by a margin of 97 per cent in favour of strike action in the dispute over the management’s proposals, which include axing the wages of 184 brewery technicians by up to £9,000-a-year.
Talks between the management of Britain biggest brewery and Unite, the country’s largest union, representing the staff, were continuing today (Wednesday, 29 May) at a secret location.
The dispute centres on the 455-strong workforce at the brewery being sacked after 10 June and reemployed on inferior pay and conditions.
Unite regional officer Rick Coyle said: “The overwhelming vote in favour of strike action shows the strength of feeling at the way the company has behaved towards its loyal workforce.
“Talks are carrying on today (Wednesday). The management has engaged in a constructive dialogue and Unite is seeking a settlement that is fair to our members – and we are working very hard to achieve that end.
”Until these talks have concluded – and depending on the outcome - the union won’t be announcing any strike dates.”
A mass rally of the workers held at Burton Albion football club last night (Tuesday 28 May) greeted the ballot result with roars of approval.
Unite has argued that Molson Coors is a highly profitable company which benefited greatly from George Osborne’s recent reduction in beer duty – and there was no financial imperative for the proposed swingeing cuts in pay and conditions.
One of the key issues in the dispute is that employees 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, Grolsch, 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.