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Strike Action Looms At Chivas As Whisky And Spirits Workers Vote Against Pay Freeze

Monday, May 10, 2021

Strike Action Looms At Chivas As Whisky And Spirits Workers Vote Against Pay Freeze

Manufacturing across the whisky and spirits giant Chivas’ could be brought to a stand-still, after workers voted firmly to support industrial action against a company pay freeze plan.

84.4 per cent of GMB members backed calls for strike action and 92.7 per cent for action short of strike, meaning industrial action could take place from as early as the last week in May, affecting all Chivas Scottish operations, from distillation to bottling.

The dispute was prompted after GMB Scotland uncovered that the Chivas parent company Pernod Ricard awarded pay rises to their workers in France for this year, but mediation talks at ACAS collapsed last month after Chivas management refused to lift the pay freeze.

Anger among workers has intensified during the ballot after Pernod Ricard announced promising financial results at the end of April, including sales of €1.96 billion in the three month period until 31 March, with organic growth of 10 per cent expected for the rest of the year.

Chivas produces brands such as Ballantines, Glenlivet, Royal Salute and Aberlour, and GMB represents workers across its Scottish sites, including at Kilmalid bottling hall, Strathclyde Grain Distillery and single malt distilling including The Glenlivet Distillery, as well as maturation sites in Speyside, Clydebank and Ayrshire.

GMB Scotland Organiser Keir Greenaway said:

“Chivas workers across Scotland have kept the profits rolling in throughout this pandemic, but also against the headwinds of Brexit and a tariffs war with the US – they deserve much better than a real-terms pay cut.

“It was a low-blow for workers to learn they would be the poor relations of the Pernod Ricard family and the recent financial results from the parent-company now clearly demonstrate that there is no excuse to value them so badly.

“You can’t build an economic recovery on pay cuts in Scotland’s highly lucrative whisky and spirits sector; there is no ‘levelling-up’ or ‘fair work’ agenda here for workers in communities like West Dunbartonshire and Speyside.

“GMB members have sent a clear message that they are prepared to take industrial action to secure better value for their hard work and sacrifice over the last fourteen months, and the ball is back in the employer’s court to return with an improved offer.”


Contact: GMB Scotland Keir Greenaway on 07855 017842 or email

Notes to Editors:

Pernod Ricard’s Third Quarter Financial Results for the 2021 Fiscal Year can be accessed at: <<Press Release Sales 9M FY21 (>>