WORKERS at a Fife whisky plant will begin a series of walkouts on Friday evening in an escalating pay dispute, their union has said.

Members of Unite the Union at Diageo’s plant in Leven will stop work on February 3 in a dispute over shift changes which they say amount to a 6% pay cut.

The workers, who largely work in engineering, will end their strike action just before 6am on Monday morning.

The union claimed strike action will directly impact on the engineering support for the bottling plant and believes it will not be safe to run the plant without the support its members provide.

The latest round of strike action follows previous stoppages with more walkouts scheduled to take place until April 3 if a resolution is not found.

Previously, Diageo said it is not introducing a lower rate of pay for new starters and said the dispute relates to shift arrangements for the 10 people taking industrial action.

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Unite general secretary, Sharon Graham said: “Unite’s engineering members at Diageo’s Leven plant have had enough of pay cuts especially as the company’s profits are soaring. Diageo recorded £4.4 billion in profits – up nearly 20 per cent – directly on the back of our members’ hard work.

“Yet some of our members are now facing considerable pay cuts when inflation has hit a 45-year high. This is totally unacceptable and we will stand with our members in their fight against corporate greed at Diageo.”

The union also said workers involved in the dispute would hold a protest outside The Johnnie Walker Experience in Edinburgh on February 11 and at the Leven plant on February 12 from 12pm each day.

Unite industrial officer Bob Macgregor said: “The weekend strike action is the latest round in our members’ fight for decent and fair pay. Diageo are one of the most profitable companies in the UK yet they are treating their engineering workers with complete disrespect.

“The workers keep the bottling plant safe and literally keep the drinks flowing.

“They will be taking their fight to The Johnnie Walker Experience next Saturday (11 February) so that the people of Edinburgh and all visitors to the centre get to understand what kind of experience the company is giving its workforce.”

A spokesman for Diageo said: “We are proud of the pay and benefits packages we provide. We have a very small number of employees taking industrial action over weekend nightshift requirements.

“Our Leven site continues to operate safely and as normal, and we remain committed to seeking a resolution to this dispute.”