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Dalmore and Invergordon Easter Ross distillery workers poised to strike as GMB Union slams pay offer 'an insult'


By Hector MacKenzie

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Invergordon Distillery. Picture: James Mackenzie.
Invergordon Distillery. Picture: James Mackenzie.

WORKERS at a whisky giant's Easter Ross distilleries are poised for strike action according to the union representing them.

Industrial action is looming at Whyte &Mackay sites after workers overwhelmingly rejected a pay offer.

GMB Scotland said a ballot of workers at Dalmore and Invergordon distilleries, in Easter Ross, revealed huge opposition to the offer branded “an insult” when the company is making record profits and expanding its operations.

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Trade unions say the whisky maker’s success has been built on the skill and commitment of workers and the offer of between 5 per cent and 6 per cent is not close to matching inflation over the last year and is effectively a pay cut.

Lesley-Anne Macaskill, GMB organiser: 'While managers are celebrating this great commercial success, our members are struggling to make ends meet during an unprecedented cost of living crisis while being paid less than whisky workers elsewhere.' Picture: GMB
Lesley-Anne Macaskill, GMB organiser: 'While managers are celebrating this great commercial success, our members are struggling to make ends meet during an unprecedented cost of living crisis while being paid less than whisky workers elsewhere.' Picture: GMB

Lesley-Anne MacAskill, GMB Scotland organiser in the Highlands, said of those who voted, 94 per cent were against the pay offer and in support of industrial action, including strikes.

She said: “It is clear from the result of this ballot that our members are absolutely united in rejecting this offer and determined to take whatever industrial action is necessary to secure a fair pay rise from a company making record profits.

“While managers are celebrating this great commercial success, our members are struggling to make ends meet during an unprecedented cost of living crisis while being paid less than whisky workers elsewhere. It cannot go on and managers must understand the strength of feeling of our members and their determination to have the value of their work properly recognised and secure a fair pay offer.”

The workforce has also branded huge murals installed at Invergordon and costing hundreds of thousands of pounds a “vanity project” when some colleagues are being forced to use food banks because they cannot make ends meet.

GMB Scotland said the Whyte & Mackay workers are now paid less than staff elsewhere in the industry and said the company could afford a double-digit pay increase as business booms.

The company's pre-tax profits for 2022 were £81.3 million with a 20 per cent increase in pay costing around £6.6 million.

It says thar meanwhile, shareholders in Whyte & MacKay received almost £53 million in dividends between 2019 and 2022 while the highest paid director was paid £710,000 in 2022 eleven times more than average salary in the company.

Whyte & Mackay has been contacted for comment.


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