Martin Docherty-Hughes, SNP MP for West Dunbartonshire, has urged whisky firm Chivas Brothers to work constructively with trade unions and staff at its Dumbarton-based bottling plant to resolve an ongoing dispute over pay.
In a letter to Mr Laurent Lacassagne, Chief Executive of Chivas Brothers, Mr Docherty-Hughes expressed concerns about wage disparities of up to £900 between Chivas workers on the same pay grade across their operations at Kilmalid and Paisley.
The move follows the announcement of industrial action by workers at the Chivas Kilmalid site next week (7 August) over pay harmonisation after a ballot of union members resulted in the latest offer from the firm being overwhelmingly rejected.
Martin Docherty-Hughes MP said:
“I am very concerned about the ongoing pay dispute between Chivas Brothers and its workers at its Kilmalid site in Dumbarton. Having met with 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.
“It’s unacceptable that similarly experienced staff at Chivas are not being paid equally and fairly for doing the same job and I fully support efforts to resolve this. The Chivas workforce at Kilmalid makes a huge contribution to the success of Chivas and parent company Pernod Ricard and they have been waiting long enough for the implementation of harmonised pay and conditions. This ongoing dispute only serves to undermine staff morale and negatively impact the reputation of Chivas as a world-leading brand and employer.
“It’s in nobody’s interest for next week’s industrial action to go ahead and I would urge the management of Chivas Brothers to get back round the table with trade union officials as a matter of urgency and ensure everything possible is done to reach a fair and satisfactory agreement.”
Letter sent to Chief Executive of Chivas Brothers
Chief Executive, Chivas Brothers
111-113 Renfrew Rd
1st August 2017
Dear Mr Lacassagne,
Chivas Dispute Kilmalid
I am writing to you to express my concern at the announcement by the Unite and GMB unions that they have served notice of strike action over pay and harmonisation of pay grades at the Kilmalid Chivas site based in my constituency which is due to take place on the 7th August.
After learning of this announcement I met with representatives from the Unite union who outlined the background to this on-going dispute where I found their arguments on the need for equality in pay and treatment very persuasive and the fact that this has a detrimental impact on the workforce, the majority of whom are my constituents, greatly worries me.
I was very concerned to learn that there are potential gross wage disparities of up to £900 between Chivas workers on the same grade across your Kilmalid and Paisley sites. I believe you must recognise that this inequality across the workforce is not good for morale, can be seen as bad working practice and is disrespectful to those hard working individuals who are the backbone of your company.
It is in no-one’s interest for industrial action to take place as it has an impact on workers and their families, on production and on the reputation of Chivas Regal which is known across Scotland and the world.
Therefore, I would urge you, as a matter of urgency, to sit down with union officials to discuss this matter with a view to coming to a satisfactory resolution that aims to harmonise pay grades as quickly as possible which I am sure will satisfy the workers and bring an end to this dispute.
I hope that you are open to meeting with the unions and that common ground can be found to bring this dispute to an end and I look forward to hearing from you in due course.
Martin Docherty-Hughes MP