Drumchapel based distillers produce popular drink brands including Famous Grouse

Unite members based at Edrington Distillers are to be balloted on strike action in a dispute over new shift patterns and unsociable hours at the Drumchapel based company.

Over 40 Unite members including engineers, electricians and boilermen are being balloted over new shift patterns and associated pay that were introduced in January 2023. 

The dispute centres of Unite members demanding a 5 per cent higher shift allowance for unsociable hours associated with the early shift and back shift in line with other unionised distillery plants. The shift pattern changes has meant some workers starting earlier at 5.30 a.m. instead of 7 a.m. Similar time changes have been applied to the back shift.

Unite fully expects any strike action to bring production to a halt at the Drumchapel plant. Unite also believes it would not be safe to run the plant without the engineering support its members provide.

The ballot opens 1 March and closes 22 March.

Unite general secretary, Sharon Graham said: “Unite’s members at Edrington Distillers deserve to be getting paid in line with industry standards without having to threaten strike action. The Edrington Group, which owns the Drumchapel plant, is swimming in £177m of profits. Any cuts to pay or lower shift allowance rates is totally unacceptable, and we will stand with our members in their fight for better jobs, pay and conditions.”

Edrington Distillers increased turnover to £140.6m in 2022 up from £101.2 million the year before. Directors’ remuneration also increased to £5.8m up from £1.8m over the same time period. 

The Drumchapel plant’s parent company – The Edrington Group –boosted its profits for the financial year to £177.3m in 2022 up from £146.2m (2021).

Unite industrial officer Graham McNab added: “The strike ballot at Edrington Distillers in Drumchapel is a reflection of the anger that our members feel at being treated as second class workers in the drinks industry. Other well-known distillers are paying the shift allowance rates our members are looking for as a given without the threat of industrial action.” 

“The company has no issue boosting the wallets of their directors which has increased by over three times in a year up to £5.8m, so why don’t they pay their workers what they deserve? Unite wants to urge the company to resolve this dispute which it can easily do before it escalates to a point where the plant closes.” 


Notes to Editors

For media enquiries contact: Andrew Brady on 07810 157922 or [email protected]

Unite Scotland is the country’s biggest and most diverse trade union with around 150,000 members. The union is led in Scotland by Pat Rafferty.