08:00 Tuesday 23 April 2013

Coors staff set to strike

Written byROB SMYTH

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

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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