08:00 Tuesday 06 August 2013

POLL - Brewing giant and workers end strike threat after breakthrough

Written byROB SMYTH

STRIKE action at a Burton brewing giant has been called off after a deal was struck between senior bosses and workers over a revised pay deal.

Unite and Molson Coors announced that they had settled a long-running dispute that was set to see workers down tools and form a picket line over what were described as ‘unacceptable’ contract changes.

The new deal will mean that staff at the Burton Brewery and Shobnall Maltings site, who were facing cuts of up to £9,000-a-year in their pay, will now see a drop of £1,724 over the next two years.

The deal has also seen radical shift proposals - which could have been changed at 24 hours notice and workers called in while on holiday - completely withdrawn.

Unite regional officer Rick Coyle said: “This workforce stunned Molson Coors by the strength, determination and scale of the solidarity they displayed.

“The 97 per cent vote in favour of strike action will never be forgotten.

“Unite is proud to have delivered an honourable outcome for members in a dire situation that originally saw some workers face losing their homes.”

The deal will also see ‘generous’ severance/redundancy payments made available to all workers facing a pay cut who may not wanot want to sign up to the new changes.

It will also mean that workers earnings’ being contractually guaranteed for the next five years.

A spokesman for Molson Coors said: “We are pleased with the result of the vote, which will allow us to continue with our plans to build a sustainable future for brewing in Burton so that we can compete in a challenging marketplace.

“We would like to thank our employees for their patience and support over the consultation period and Unite for the positive contribution it has made to these vital negotiation.”

The dispute centred on pay and conditions, as well as proposed new shift patterns for the 455-strong workforce.

In May, workers voted by a margin of 97 per cent in favour of strike action.

The Burton plant produces Carling, Grolsch, Coors Lite and Cobra lagers, as well as beers including Worthington, White Shield and Stones.

Burton’s MP Andrew Griffiths said: “I am delighted that the management and workforce have been able to work together to come up with an amicable solution to this dispute.

“Molson Coors is a hugely important business to the town and I hope this news coupled with the massive investment the company is making in the town help to secure its future, and the jobs it creates, for the long term.

Do you think that brewery staff have got a fair deal?
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