GMB Scotland Defending Your Interests
Join GMB today

Overview: Brewing, Whisky & Spirits

Overview: Brewing, Whisky & Spirits

1. What is MUP - Minimum Unit Pricing?

MUP was introduced by the Scottish Government in 2018 which meant every unit of alcohol had to be sold for at least 50p. This year, the Scottish Government announced they wanted to increase MUP this year to 65p per unit.

MUP was supposed to reduce alcohol related deaths. However, the evidence remains inconclusive, alcohol deaths have risen, and those with alcohol dependence have maintained their consumption and have given up heating and food.

Whilst Scotland does need action to tackle alcohol deaths, the action must meet its aims and must involve properly funded public services. It cannot come to the detriment of our members’ pay, the industry, and communities who rely on these jobs.

2. What impact will MUP have on jobs and the industry?

MUP – and an increase – has and will impact on pay, investment and growth in Brewing, Whisky and Spirits, one of Scotland’s most successful industries.

At 50p, a bottle of whisky must be sold for no less than £13.80. At 65p, the price will jump by £4.40 to £18.20 per bottle.

Increases in alcohol duty is also squeezing the sector. 73% of the average bottle of whisky is tax. Alcohol is therefore already the UK’s most taxed commodity.

3. What have GMB members called for?

GMB Scotland has called for MUP to be scrapped and for any increase in MUP to prioritise changes in peoples’ real terms incomes. Therefore, MUP must be NO MORE THAN 50p.

Increasing MUP from 50p to 65p is a 30% increase. But due to the cost-of-living crisis, peoples’ real terms incomes have only increased by 1.3% since 2018. A 30% increase is therefore unfair to working people who drink responsibly and an additional tax on the lowest earners.

4. What can you do?

Watch this space, GMB will soon be launching a petition calling for the 30% increase to be scrapped, and for any changes to MUP to take account of changes in peoples’ real terms purchasing power. You'll be able to sign the petion here and in workplaces by scanning a QR code.

Drinks Industry Workers: Minimum price hike will cost jobs - Monday, December 4, 2023

Drinks workers: Don’t increase minimum unit price of alcohol, scrap it

Workers in Scotland’s drinks industry fear a proposed increase to the price of alcohol will risk jobs while doing nothing to protect problem drinkers, according to a poll.

Christmas strikes loom at whisky giant after GMB Scotland members back action - Tuesday, November 21,  2023

 Workers at whisky giant Chivas Brothers have overwhelmingly backed strike action after pay talks collapsed.

Glass of Whisky

UK Budget Reaction – Spirits Duty Increase - Wednesday, March 15, 2023

GMB Scotland slams “unhelpful measure” as Chancellor hikes spirits duty

Strike threat at whisky giants as workers balloted over shift allowance dispute - Wednesday, February 22, 2023

“This is a dedicated and loyal workforce, and the real prospect of industrial action is not something they are taking lightly, but this ballot is a direct response to management’s chronic intransigence and a clear demonstration of their desire to make work better across Edrington.”

Additional Resources

GMB Scotland Letter to Rt Hon Alister Jack Secretary of State for Scotland

download pdf146Kb (pdf) - 14 January 2020

Scotch Whisky Tariffs

ACAS Joint Trade Unions And Diageo Agreement On 2018 Wage Setttlement

download pdf34Kb (pdf) - 01 November 2018

Read the full agreement here

GMB Letter to Chivas CEO Jean-Christophe Coutures

download pdf32Kb (pdf) - 19 October 2018

GMB Scotland in Chivas - Product Allowance and Holiday Pay Letter to Chivas CEO Jean-Christophe Coutures for Keir Greenaway, GMB Scotland Organiser

GMB Scotland Letter to Kenny Irwin - Diageo Pay Offer

download pdf184Kb (pdf) - 05 October 2018

Read GMB Scotland's letter to Kenny Irwin here

Chivas Product Allowance Response Letter

download pdf99Kb (pdf) - 20 September 2018

Chivas has decided not to uphold your grievance around product allowance, please see their response here

GMB Response to Diageo Communication

download pdf468Kb (pdf) - 31 August 2018

Diageo: Diageo is offering our employees a pay package increase equal to 3.2%.

Diageo Your Pay Claim

download pdf367Kb (pdf) - 17 May 2018

Diageo Pay Claim Poster

GMB Scotland Motion to STUC Conference 2018

download pdf279Kb (pdf) - 17 April 2018

Motion 9 – Brexit Impact: Protecting Scotch Whisky and Spirits’ Jobs

Mundell Letter

download pdf36Kb (pdf) - 02 May 2017

GMB Scotland Letter To David Mundell

Diageo Pay Claim 2018

download pdf158Kb (pdf) - 12 June 2018

Diageo Pay Claim 2018