Unite Scotland is balloting around 130 cask handlers, heavy goods vehicle (HGV), forklift and shunter drivers employed by Carntyne Transport on strike action in a dispute over pay.

The Springburn (Glasgow) based logistics firm, which is part of the Russell Group, employs around 300 workers in total but the strike ballot will cover an area of the business involving around 200 workers.

The ballot opens on 1 December and will close on 15 December. The company has a number of clients including Diageo which could be hit by any strike action over the festive period.

The strike ballot is in response to Carntyne Transport’s refusal to improve upon its £1.12 increase per hour pay offer, following unprecendented demands for drivers in the industry. The offer would take HGV drivers’ pay to £13.72. The company is also only offering to increase pay for On-Site Logistics (OSL) workers (cask handlers, forklift drivers and shunters) by only 16 pence to £9.96.

Carntyne Transport financial accounts for 2020 show pre-tax profits of £3.98 million up from £2.88 million in 2019. A hike of £1.1 million equivalent to 38%.

Unite’s members are now demanding £15 an hour for HGV drivers, and a significant increase for OSL workers in light of rising levels of pay and labour shortages across the industry throughout the UK.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “The fight at Carntyne Transport being led by our members is over decent pay and conditions, and they will have our full support in their campaign to drive-up standards.

“Our members are simply fed-up at being treated with disrespect and they will no longer accept wage levels well below industry standards. This union is now focussed on fighting for the jobs pay and conditions of our members and will do so at Carntyne Transport.”

Linda Pollock-Wilson, Unite industrial officer, added: “The cask handlers, forklift drivers and shunters are being offered a paltry 16 pence an hour rise, which leaves their pay barely above the national minimum wage. The HGV drivers are being offered an increase which still leaves them below £14 per hour, yet drivers at other companies are paying drivers £20 per hour.

“The company can afford to stop this dispute by paying our members the rate for the job, so why don’t they do just that.

“We are determined to improve the pay and conditions of our members in Carntyne Transport, and this strike ballot is only the first step in our fight."