Diageo Scottish strike the consequence of ‘insatiable corporate greed’  

05 Sep 2019
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Strike action will hit all of Diageo’s Scottish operations later this month, after GMB Scotland served statutory notice to the company this afternoon [Tuesday 3 September) following the collapse of pay talks.

A rolling programme of action will start on Tuesday 17 September and run until Friday 27 September, severely affecting Diageo’s bottling, maturation and distillery operations across Scotland and disrupting the production of staple brands such as Johnnie Walker, Gordon’s & Smirnoff (see footnote for full schedule).

Last month, 80.5 per cent of GMB’s near 1,000 members supported moving to strike action after months of pay talks ended with Diageo tabling a 2.8 per cent ‘final offer’ for staff across it’s Scottish operations.

ACAS talks collapsed last Friday with Diageo refusing to improve the previously rejected offer, despite recent pre-tax profits of over £4.2 billion, a share buyback bonanza worth £4.5 billion and a remarkable 30 per cent pay increase for Chief Executive Ivan Menezes – a hike which takes his total pay to £11.7 million.

Keir Greenaway, GMB Scotland Organiser, said:

“Strike action across Diageo’s Scottish operations is a consequence of the insatiable corporate greed within the hierarchy of this company.

“Our campaign for a pay deal that beats the cost of living for our members and their families is a modest proposal against the backdrop of Diageo’s absolutely staggering financial results, which workers in Scotland have more than helped to deliver.

“A huge chunk of Diageo’s credibility and success is built on the back of Scotland and the working class and rural communities that distil, mature, store and bottle their lucrative range of whiskies and white spirits.

“It begs the question: Why has the company spent months low-balling unions with pay offers that fail to tackle the cost of living? If any business can afford to make work pay for its employees it is Diageo. 

“A rising tide should lift all boats but instead we have to suffer the grotesque spectacle of Ivan Menezes and his shareholders carving-up the spoils while workers in Scotland get thrown scraps from the fat cats’ table.

“It’s just not credible and we aren’t going to leave this unchallenged. Diageo must get real on pay or they will be hit with a sustained wave of strike action affecting many of their most profitable brands.”

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