Scotland business

Diageo strikes called off after new offer made

Diageo sign Image copyright Getty Images

Strike action has been suspended at spirits giant Diageo's Scottish operations after management and unions struck a last-minute pay deal.

Workers had been set to walk out at dozens of sites after unions rejected a "final" pay offer of 2.8% on Monday.

But a deal was struck shortly before the first of a wave of strikes was due to start at 22:00 on Tuesday.

The Unite and GMB unions said they would now consult their members on the new offer.

The offer is understood to be a two-year deal with a 3% rise this year and an increase in pay next year, in line with the retail price index (RPI) rate as it stands in June 2020.

A new collective agreement will also be negotiated by then.

In a joint statement, GMB Scotland organiser Keir Greenaway and Unite Scotland officer Stevie Deans said: "We are pleased that on the brink of strike action, Diageo tabled an offer that we feel merits our members' consultation.

"The offer is a two-year commitment on pay and also sets out a timeframe for the negotiation of a new collective agreement.

"Our strike action is now suspended while a full consultative ballot of our members takes place on the offer."

'Fair offer'

A Diageo spokesman said: "Following further negotiations today, our improved offer has been recommended for acceptance by both the GMB and Unite unions and strike action has been suspended.

"We are pleased to have reached agreement on a good, fair offer that ensures our employees can receive an increase on their pay while maintaining the competitiveness of our operations."

Unite and GMB Scotland members account for nearly half of Diageo's total workforce of 3,000 in Scotland.

The "rolling programme" of 24-hour strikes had been due to run until 27 September.

Unions had claimed the action would hit all of Diageo's bottling, maturation and distillery plants in Scotland, including well-known distilleries such as Talisker, on the Isle of Skye, Lagavullin on Islay and Knockando in Moray.

The unions had disputed claims by Diageo that it could not afford to match last year's 3.2% pay award, arguing that the company had made pre-tax profits of £4.2bn in its last financial year.

Diageo operates dozens of sites north of the border, including distilleries in Perthshire, Fife, Aberdeenshire, the Isle of Skye, the Black Isle and Argyll and Bute.

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