Whisky maker in talks with union in bid to avert strike action at distilleries

12 June 2024, 11:14

Whisky being poured into a glass from a bottle
Pouring single malt scotch whisky into whisky glass on wooden table. Picture: PA

Members of the GMB at three Whyte & Mackay sites in northern Scotland are threatening to walk out for 24 days over the summer in a pay row.

Further talks between whisky maker Whyte & Mackay and members of the GMB union are taking place as the drinks manufacturer attempts to “mitigate” planned industrial action at three of its distilleries.

GMB Scotland members at the company’s Dalmore and Invergordon distilleries in Ross and Cromarty and Tamnavulin in Moray recently voted to walk out after receiving a pay offer they described as an “insult” at a time, they said, the company was making record profits.

The walkouts are due to begin on Monday June 24, followed by 11 days of strikes in July and a further two weeks in August.

However talks between the two sides are taking place this week in a last-ditch attempt to resolve the dispute, with the company saying it has plans to “mitigate” the impact of industrial action on stakeholders if no agreement is reached.

Kieran Healey-Ryder, head of communication and corporate affairs at Whyte & Mackay, said: “We have been informed of proposed strike action by GMB at three sites.

“However, negotiations continue and all sides agreed to meet this week, with the intention to explore if there is a way forward that may mitigate industrial action, or to confirm if we have indeed now exhausted collective bargaining.

“We have in the meantime prepared plans to mitigate the impact to stakeholder groups.”

Lesley-Anne MacAskill, GMB Scotland’s organiser in the Highlands, said: “Talks are continuing in the hope of a fair resolution to this dispute but if that agreement cannot be reached, our members are united and determined to take whatever action is necessary to have their work and value to the company properly recognised.”

Whyte & Mackay, which is owned by Philippine-based Emperador, operates Dalmore distillery at Alness in Ross and Cromarty; the nearby Invergordon grain distillery; Fettercairn in Aberdeenshire; Tamnavulin near Tomnavoulin, Moray; and Jura on the Hebridean island.

By Press Association