Employees at Molson Coors in Burton-on-Trent are set to hold an industrial action ballot later this month, as the 455-strong workforce face being sacked after 10 June and reinstated on inferior pay and conditions.
Unite, the country’s largest union, said its members would be asked to vote on strike action in the dispute over the management’s package of proposals which includes axing the wages of 184 brewery technicians by up to £9,000-a-year.
Unite regional officer Rick Coyle said: “The 90-day consultation period on these proposals ends on 10 June. Members will be subject to individual consultations after 10 June, and face being sacked and re-engaged. This will be done between that date and the end of year. It won't all be done in one go.
“A settlement looks very unlikely at present because of the intransigent and hardline attitude of the management at this very profitable company which has benefited greatly from the chancellor’s recent reduction in beer duty.
“At meetings last month in Burton town hall, 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.”
One of the key issues 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.
Rick Coyle added: “What this new shift system means in reality is that not everyone will be able to have an annual two-week holiday, because you can be rung up and asked to come even when you are on leave.
“Under this so-called “flexible operating agreement”, you could also be called in for a full night shift with minimum notice. There will be an on-call system, but no financial recognition for being on-call.”
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.