Socialist Worker

Ruffled feathers at the Grouse factory

Issue No. 1912

WHISKY WORKERS at one of Scotland’s largest privately owned companies planned to strike this week over pay.

In a ballot GMB members at the Edrington Group in Glasgow—which produces the Famous Grouse, Cutty Sark and Macallan whiskies—voted 94 percent for action in a 90 percent turnout.

The plant produces around 90 million bottles of whisky a day, and just a one-day stoppage could cost the company up to £7 million.

More than 200 of those who work at the Great Western Road plant were set to strike from Thursday afternoon this week and not return until Tuesday next week.

The action coincides with the company’s annual general meeting at the plant.

Workers rejected the last wage offer of a two-year deal, which amounts to a 3.5 percent rise this year and an inflation-only rise next year.

They are angry that their pay deal is essentially self financing through enhanced “flexibility”, while directors have grabbed an extra 18 percent rise.

Ian King, the GMB’s senior organiser, said the company’s excuses were “rich coming from a company whose profits rose in the year ending March 2004 from £41 million to £52 million.”

Richard Leonard, GMB organiser, added, “The executive directors have done very well out of the company. We believe the shop floor workers deserve a decent reward too.”

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Sat 31 Jul 2004, 00:00 BST
Issue No. 1912
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