Carling workers settle Molson Coors dispute

Carling workers at the Molson Coors facility in Burton-on-Trent have settled their long-running dispute over pay and new shift patterns which had threatened to bring production to a halt.

Staff had voted overwhelmingly for strike action in May following 455 staff being told they faced being sacked and reinstated on inferior pay and conditions.

Union Unite said that its members had voted to accept a second revised package put forward by the management.

This includes a pay reduction of £862 from 1 January 2014 and £862 from 1 January 2015 for all workers previously facing cuts of up to £9,000-a-year in their pay.

Additionally, there is also the securing of redundancy payments for workers facing pay cuts, the withdrawal of unpopular shift proposals and the improvement of pay protection until 2017.

Unite regional officer Rick Coyle expressed his delight at the outcome, which contractually guarantees workers earnings for the next five years.

“This workforce stunned Molson Coors by the strength, determination and scale of the solidarity they displayed,” he said.

“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.”

In a statement, a spokesperson for Molson Coors said: “We are pleased with the result of Friday’s 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 negotiations.”

The Burton plant which produces Carling, Grolsch, Coors Lite and Cobra lagers, as well as beers including Worthington, White Shield and Stone, is a major employer in the town.

Action taken included a mass rally at the local Burton Albion Football Club, as well as a public demonstration in the town centre.