Pernod Ricard: Workers Strike Over Pay Dispute
A strike at Chivas Brothers’ Kilmalid site in Scotland, UK is getting contentious as workers refuse to back down in an ongoing pay dispute. Chivas Brothers is a brand that belongs to Pernod Ricard, the 6th largest alcohol producer in the world.
Trade union Unite called the action, which began on August 6, at 6am and was due to conclude at 7.30am on August 7 morning, after 86% of workers balloted rejected a fresh pay deal from Chivas.
Pernod Ricard: hypocrisy and unfair treatment of workers
The union drew attention to “gross wage disparities” between Kilmalid workers and those at the firm’s Paisley site – which will close when operations are moved to the former as part of a multi-million pound redevelopment.
Union chiefs wrote to the chief executive of Pernod Ricard, the parent company of Chivas Brothers, Alexandre Ricard last week, urging pay and conditions across the two sites to be brought into line.
The union claimed the latest pay offer of a 1.9% rise would have left some workers at the site up to £900 out of pocket.
Unite regional coordinating officer Elaine Dougall exposes Chivas’ hypocrisy by contrasting their treatment of workers and their advertising messages, per the Reporter:
Chivas itself states in its advertisements ‘here’s to the straight talkers, who give their word and keep it’.
A 13-year wait does not constitute a speedy resolution over pay inequalities and the standardisation of terms and conditions across the sites. Unite believes it is time the company keeps its own word.
The reputation of Chivas Brothers is not just at stake, but also Pernod Ricard because of the intransigent actions of local management. Pernod Ricard will also now need to decide if broken promises and pay inequality is something it wishes its brand to be associated with.”
Pernod Ricard reported a volume of total sales of $9.9 billion in 2016.
As told in the Reporter, the dispute follows plans confirmed last November that the company was seeking to close its operations base in Paisley, moving its staff and production to Dumbarton, with the full transfer of activities due to take place by the end of 2019.
The company currently employs around 460 staff at Kilmalid, and a further 600 staff in Paisley, with all permanent employees based there due to be transferred within the next three years.
The latest action has led to calls for both sides to get back around the negotiating table, with plans for two further stoppages being announced by the union for August 14 and 15.
West Dunbartonshire MP Martin Docherty said:
I am very concerned about the ongoing pay dispute between Chivas Brothers and its workers at its Kilmalid site in Dumbarton.
Having met staff and union representatives, it’s clear that inequality in pay is having a detrimental impact on the Chivas Kilmalid workforce – many of whom live in my constituency of West Dunbartonshire.”