A UNION has warned that Irn-Bru supplies could be disrupted as drivers walk out in a dispute over pay.

Trucker and shunter drivers represented by Unite took strike action on Friday at AG Barr’s production and distribution centre in Cumbernauld, North Lanarkshire.

The 24-hour stoppage is the first of nine with the final one concluding on October 6.

A continuous ban on overtime also came into effect this week.

The strike comes after workers rejected a 5% wage rise, which Unite said equates to a “significant, real-terms pay cut” due to inflation.

Andy Brown, Unite industrial officer, said: “Unite’s members have no option but to take strike action because AG Barr stubbornly refuses to give its loyal workforce a fair share of its sparkling profits.

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“There is a steely determination among our members because 5% just doesn’t cut it.

“The 24-hour strike action will be the first of nine stoppages over the coming weeks.

“AG Barr’s stinginess has escalated this dispute when it could have been easily resolved with a fair pay offer.”

The Unite members at AG Barr, which makes Irn-Bru, previously backed strike action by 83%.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “AG Barr can afford to pay its trucker and shunter drivers far more than the penny-pinching pay cut currently on offer. The drivers are absolutely essential to supplies, including Irn-Bru.

“The company is cash rich with £52.9 million chilling in the bank. We will back our members all the way in their fight for better jobs, pay and conditions.”

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An AG Barr spokesman said: “We’re disappointed in the decision by 11 of our Scottish-based HGV1 drivers, represented by Unite the union, to take industrial action.

“We made a pay offer that we believe is fair and competitive – in line with what has been agreed with our other employees.

“We believe we have a responsibility to be fair to everyone.

“We have contingency plans in place to maintain customer service and we will continue to work with Unite representatives and Acas to find a positive and constructive resolution.”