GMB union blasts Diageo pay offer as ‘shameful’

Diageo's bottling plant in Leven is one of the sites affected.
Diageo's bottling plant in Leven is one of the sites affected.

Less than a month after posting eye-watering profits of £3.7 billion, GMB Scotland has branded Diageo ‘shameful’ after staff were offered a below inflation pay offer.

The Union has now started its consultative ballot of membership across Diageo’s Scottish operations which started last week, with a strong recommendation to reject the employer’s three per cent ‘final offer’.

The ballot will run until September 17, and the union are hoping to have the results prior to Diageo’s AGM on September 20.

But in a further twist after negotiations ended last week, Diageo bosses moved to block trade union reps from conducting the ballot in the workplace after the GMB indicated it would recommend its members reject the offer.

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GMB Scotland Organiser Keir Greenaway said: “It is regrettable that Diageo has moved to withdraw the offer from GMB members along with our workplace access after we recommended that our members reject the offer in our consultative ballot. Nonetheless, we’ll press ahead with our ballot outside the factory gates and by post, so our members won’t be denied.

“This is a multi-national goliath that has just increased its operating profits by 3.7 per cent to an eye-watering £3.7 billion, yet its staff will have to fight to avoid a real-terms pay cut for the next year.

“This represents everything that’s wrong with the economy but we won’t back down to bully-boy tactics and whether the factory gates are opened or closed to us, we will campaign to ensure our members receive a fair share of their employer’s profit.”

A spokesman for the company said: “Diageo in Scotland has called on all its employees to accept a pay package increase equivalent to 3.2 per cent.

“The Consumer Price Index – regarded as the UK’s rate of inflation – is currently 2.5 per cent. The Retail Price Index is currently at 3.2 per cent.

“In addition, Diageo employees will be awarded profit share next month which is 8.3 per cent of salary.

“The Unite union has put the offer to its members. But the GMB union has recommended its members reject it.

“We’re keen to pay our employees this rise backdated to 1 July, 2018. But GMB members can only receive this once their union has accepted the offer. We’re urging them to ask their union to remove this block on a healthy pay rise – so this money can hit their bank accounts as soon as possible.”

The GMB responded with “Our priority is the defence of our members’ interests and toensuring they get a fair share of Diageo’s £3.7 billion profits. The employer tabled a 3 per cent increase for this year as their final offer – a below inflation offer that would mean a real terms pay cut for Diageo’s staff across Scotland.”