Unite members in Chivas at Kilmalid in Dumbarton and Paisley will be balloted on taking industrial action following an impasse in pay talks. Workers voted to reject the company’s four year deal of a pay offer of 1.5 per cent in year one, followed by an average of CPIH between 2017-2019 - the government’s favoured inflation rate. There is also an issue around a failure to harmonise pay with immediate effect across both sites.
Members of Unite at Kilmalid and Paisley were balloted on the offer in April. This was overwhelmingly rejected by 94 per cent of those balloted.
Unite believes the pay claim put to the company is both affordable and fair and takes account of the current economic climate. RPI stands at 3.5 per cent meaning this would be a pay cut in real terms.
The company has also stated that it intends to harmonise the pay and conditions of workers across both sites in 2018. Unite believes workers would be better served by harmonising contracts now. This way the company would enter into one set of negotiations.
In 2016 Chivas posted group operating profits of £333 million, with the company awarding the highest paid director a pay increase in 2016 of 12 per cent bringing the director's pay to £1.04 million.
Unite regional coordinating officer Elaine Dougall said: “Our members have rejected Chivas’s derisory and patronising pay offer. Despite offers to meet with company bosses to find a remedy and avert a dispute Chivas has chosen the path of conflict.
“A four year deal in such uncertain circumstances is too risky for our members. An agreement this length reduces the union’s collective bargaining strength during a period of huge organisational change within Chivas with the closure of the Paisley site and the move to Kilmalid ahead.”
Chivas was asked to engage in further talks to avert industrial action. However the company responded by advising that there would be no improved offer on the table.
“Unite would urge the company to harmonise the pay across both sites now. The delay in harmonising contracts is simply creating a divided workforce at a time when workers at both sites should be working in tandem for a harmonious transition.”
“Our members at these sites are proud of the work they do and the tradition of the Chivas brand, but this offer completely ignores the contribution our members make to the success of Chivas. They deserve a pay rise that recognises their commitment and hard work but also delivers a fair share of the profits.
“This is a profitable and successful company built on the hard work and dedication of our members who are prepared to stand firm in support of a decent pay increase. They are clear that the spoils of that success must be shared more equitably.
“We would urge Chivas management to reconsider their offer and to work with Unite to ensure our members get the fair increase they deserve.”
Notes to editors:
- Chivas is owned by French drinks company Pernod Ricard.
- The profit per employee for 2016 is £171,000
- The company plans to invest £40m in a new state-of-the-art facilities at Kilmalid in Dumbarton and close the site in Paisley by 2019