Whyte & Mackay workers “overwhelmingly” back industrial action

Workers at three Whyte & Mackay-owned distilleries have backed strike action after pay talks stalled.

The campaigning trade union GMB Scotland said that four in five members at Dalmore, Invergordon and Tamnavulin distilleries backed industrial action including strikes.

The vote comes after 94% of members voted against a proposed pay rise of between 5% and 6% in February.

“The support for industrial action at Whyte & Mackay is overwhelming but unsurprising,” said GMB organiser Lesley-Anne MacAskill.

“Our members’ work has driven the company to record-breaking profits but has not been recognised or fairly rewarded in pay negotiations.

“Whyte & Mackay is celebrating unprecedented commercial success while our member continue to endure a cost of living crisis while being paid less than workers across the industry.

“The company should consider the results of this ballot and the clear determination of our members to take action in support of a fair pay award and improve its offer. If it does not, industrial action is now inevitable.”

GMB Scotland says that Whyte & Mackay, which is owned by Philippines-based Emperador, had pre-tax profits of £81.3 million in 2022 and that an inflation-matching pay increase would cost the company £3.3 million.

In response, a spokesperson for Whyte & Mackay said: “We have received formal notification from GMB of its intention to strike. We are disappointed that despite dialogue and a revised award of 6.8%, we have failed to reach an agreement.

“As a business, we firmly believe that our pay proposal is a fair and competitive offer. We believe there is a route forward without the need for strike action and we remain committed to work to achieve that through dialogue with GMB.

“In the event of a strike taking place, we have plans in place to mitigate disruption and ensure continued business operation to minimise impact to our customers.”