Unite the Union is fighting plans by Molson Coors to cut staff pay at its Burton on Trent brewery by up to £9,000 per year, and claims workers in similar roles at the firm’s two other UK sites do not face such cuts.
Molson Coors UK & Ireland is consulting workers over a 90-day period in regard to changes to pay and terms and conditions for 455 staff at the Burton site, which is home to Britain’s largest brewery.
Burton produces lager brands Carling, Grolsch, Coors Lite and Cobra, and beers including Worthington, White Shield and Stones.
Slamming Molson Coors’ proposed cuts to pay and terms and conditions as “completely unacceptable”, Unite regional officer Rick Coyle said that one proposal involve 184 brewery Burton technicians taking the pay cuts mentioned above.
Strike action could result
He warned that strike action could result if a solution was not found.
Asked how salaries for such workers compared with those paid to staff in similar roles at other Molson Coors sites, Coyle told BeverageDaily.com: “Part of the problem our members at Burton have with the proposal is that they are paid the same now as comparable workers at Alton and Tadcaster Molson Coors’ sites.
“But there’s no proposal to reduce terms and conditions elsewhere. It’s solely aimed at Burton.”
While Coyle said both Unite and Molson Coors had agreed not to provide a “running commentary” on current talks, he said it was important that a solution be found during the first half of the consultation period if possible, “as we’ll be balloting for industrial action midway through”.
Molson Coors responds
Discussing the scale of possible £9000 salary cuts, Coyle said that television cameras would be present at a mass meeting of Unite members outside Burton town hall tonight.
“I think the fact that what we’re doing is attracting national attention means that it is just beginning to dawn on them [Molson Coors], the enormity of what they’re doing,” Coyle said.
He added: “Sometimes within a business you can get wrapped up in your own bubble – big and powerful people sometimes don’t get answered back.
“It’s only when it goes public that it begins to dawn on you that what you’re doing might not be the smartest thing in the world.”
A Molson Coors UK & Ireland spokesman told BeverageDaily.com that meetings had been scheduled to share proposals for potential changes to operations and ways of working at Burton and its Shobnall Maltings site.
“The meetings are part of an ongoing conversation with our people related to building a sustainable future for Britain’s biggest brewery in Burton on Trent.
“It is our policy to talk through any proposals with our people before commenting in public,” he added.