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Coors staff set to strike

By Burton Mail  |  Posted: April 23, 2013

protesting outside the gates in a row over new contracts which Unite claim workers are being forced to sign. 

Rick Coyle

protesting outside the gates in a row over new contracts which Unite claim workers are being forced to sign. Rick Coyle

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WORKERS at a Burton brewing giant will be asked to vote for strike action after talks over a controversial pay deal broke down.

Union Unite revealed that employees at Molson Coors will be balloted on whether or not to take industrial action as part of a dispute over proposals which include cutting the wages of 184 brewery technicians and 41 operatives by up to £9,000 a year.

Bosses at the High Street based firm have been handed seven days notice of the ballot, which runs from April 30 to May 28.

Last night, a mass meeting of union members was scheduled to take place at Burton Town Hall to discuss the planned strike action at the Burton brewery and Shobnall Maltings sites.

Unite regional officer Rick Coyle said: “Our members, the vast majority of the workforce, are very angry at the hardline attitude of the management. Unite wants an equable and fair settlement and is ready for constructive negotiations.

“However, the management’s stance has meant our members voting on strike action, given the atmosphere of duress and threat to their livelihoods.”

One of the key issues is that employees have been given notice of radical new shift patterns with 30 days annual leave - leaving 335 days either working, or at home and contactable to come into work at 23 hours notice.

A spokesman for Molson Coors said: “We have engaged in discussions with Unite representatives with the purpose of identifying opportunities to save costs and increase flexibility to enable us to compete in a declining beer industry and challenging economic environment.

“Proposals we recently put to our employees cover potential changes to organisational structures, terms and conditions of employment as well as flexible ways of working.

“All salaries will be protected at their current level for two years and all brewery employees will be entitled to annual leave during which they will not be contacted and cannot be called into work.”

“While the changes to shifts we have proposed are significant for our employees, they are common practice for British manufacturers.

“We appreciate the impact these changes will have on some of our employees and we remain committed to working with Unite to find a solution for all parties.”

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13 comments

  • frustratedresident  |  April 30 2013, 9:22PM

    Melissa, I don't intend to trade insults as you obviously do, I may come over as uneducated but I just say things as I see them. Things change as time goes on, and these are Coors proposed changes, if you accept them stay with them if not, move on and secure a job elsewhere that you are happy with, leaving a chance for someone without such high expectations, that is my point. 2.5 million people wouldn't ague with that in this climate I can assure you.

  • burtonbloke1  |  April 30 2013, 9:21PM

    May be a bit abstract but may serve to illustrate the breweries arrogance. Mr. Osborne kindly cut the duty on beer by 1p a pint which the breweries kindly pocketed. Last weekend my pint cost me 5p more. Watch them all rush to the trough.

  • Melissa12  |  April 30 2013, 4:57PM

    Frustrated resident you seem to be spouting off without using your brain a little here ... I'm self employed so don't have a union but the whole point of that is working for yourself you don't need someone to protect you against ruthless decisions like this... You also need to stop to think that if coors get away with this other companies in burton will think they can also get away with it. My guess is coors is the biggest employer in town so their wages will set the guide for wages in the area. So fingers crossed that any loss to families in the town doesn't affect your business along the line. It's also naive to say people shouldn't live to their wages and leave a few months salary in the bank ... That wouldn't even help in this instant... Why don't you work a day a week for free ? See how you feel..... People also need to remember that the wages at the moment represent the hard Graft job and 12 hour night shifts. Gone are the bass days .... Think before spouting uneducated rubbish about how this could affect the town

  • Terry  |  April 28 2013, 10:06PM

    It does seem to me that Coors appear to be provoking a strike, why else would management be proposing such massive and unrealistic demands? Coors leans heavily on the goodwill of it`s workforce to carry out day to day shift patterns etc, a work to rule might be more expedient and allow workers to carry on earning and not break their contract of employment by going out standing on the gates. Strange the silence from Coors own union and Convenor. Be careful my friends and I really do wish you the best of luck. From your old friend and ex Convenor.

  • blobby8  |  April 27 2013, 5:47PM

    Strike ? In this economic climate? Someone wants their bumps feeling. I cannot imagine that the brewery planners cannot forsee demand requirements, so management must be ensuring they can cover operational requirements. Unfortunately the Mails reports are short on hard facts, just how will these callout shifts be recompensed I guess taken from contracted hours ? As for the salary, figures are bandied around, how about the facts £9k is 30% of £30k, basic money was more than that seven years ago !

  • frustratedresident  |  April 27 2013, 10:50AM

    Well my suggestion is to all those against it is to go and find an equivelent job elsewhere at the pay level they have become accustomed to, with the terms and conditions they demand and let those who would be glad of the job step into their shoes(nope thought not). By the way I have been self employed for 20+ years, not wrapped in cotton wool, no unions to fight my corner, just pure bloody hard work, my world is by no means perfect, I consider it the REAL world!

  • madvic  |  April 26 2013, 7:24PM

    thanks for your comment frustrated resident you obviously can afford to lose 30% of your income well done for that we are not talking about people being made homeless or thrown out onto the street we are talking about people being forced to change their lifestyle that they have worked for not because the company have gone bankrupt or anything like that but through the greed and unreasonable demands of the company putting aside the fact that yes people maybe shouldnt live life in your words close to disaster but it doesnt detract from the real issue that staff are being asked to accept spending 98% of their life at work leaving just 10% at home and also they want them to do more work for less money now if thats not wrong in your seemingly perfect world what is ?

  • frustratedresident  |  April 25 2013, 9:40PM

    I do feel for the workers but often wonder why people are still living life so close to the edge i.e. 30% pay cut equals homeless. I think everyone should ask themselves this question: If it all goes wrong at work how many pay cheques are you away from actual disaster......frightening isn't it!

  • frustratedresident  |  April 25 2013, 9:39PM

    I do feel for the workers but often wonder why people are still living live so close to the edge i.e. 30% pay cut equals homeless. I think everyone should ask themselves this question: If it all goes wrong at work how many pay cheques are you away from actual disaster......frightening isn't it!

  • madvic  |  April 25 2013, 7:28PM

    Very nice to see the comments and the support in the web chat this morning my husband is one of the workers who will be affected by these totally insane changes ,one thing that people should know is that the hatchet squad who came up with these proposals namely Jeremy Darbyshire and his two female possey members have not attended any meeting with the workforce they have sent a lakkie to do the dirty work for them because they get upset by the negative comments they get well boo hoo you three dont stand to lose your homes lets hope the old saying what comes around goes around and you get your just desserts

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