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Strike threat at whisky giants as workers balloted over shift allowance dispute

Wednesday, February 22, 2023

Strike threat at whisky giants as workers balloted over shift allowance dispute

One of Scotland’s premier whisky companies, The Edrington Group, faces the threat of a production shut down as workers vote over strike action. 

Over three hundred GMB Scotland members at Edrington and Macallan, who produce Famous Grouse, Highland Park as well as the high-end premium brand The Macallan, will be balloted over a failure to agree to new shift allowance rates for unsociable working hours.

Workers across two manufacturing sites, Edrington’s Great Western Road in Glasgow and the Macallan’s Easter Elchie’s estate in Morayshire, will be balloted from Wednesday 1 March until Wednesday 22 March, meaning industrial action could take place in early April.

Against the backdrop of the highest cost of living in forty years and year-long squeeze on incomes and households, union members are seeking a significantly above inflation shift allowance rate to support the basic rate of pay.

Unions served statutory notice of the ballot to the employers this afternoon (Wednesday 22 February) after months of consultation and exhausting the conciliation process at ACAS.

GMB Scotland Organiser David Hume said:  

“The Edrington Group are in good health. It bounced back spectacularly from the pandemic last year on the back of increased sales and profits, and the boardroom and shareholders are enjoying the benefits of this in their bumper remuneration packages and dividends (see Notes to Editors).

“This resilience and recovery are built on the back of its workforce and the premium brands they produce day-in and day-out. Our members in across Scotland are the fulcrum of this success and it’s only right that they enjoy a fair share of the spoils in their terms and conditions.

“That senior management have failed to recognise this significant contribution through a proper shift allowance for workers who keep the products flowing is deeply regrettable. Let’s be clear, we are talking about the equivalent of a drop in the ocean from the sales and profits generated last year.

“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.”


Contact: GMB Scotland Organiser David Hume on 07931 796733 or email

Notes to Editors:

“Edrington posts ‘strong’ FY results”, The Spirits Business, published 7 July 2022, access at: <<>>


The Edrington Group Annual Report 2022, access at: <<>>