Irn-Bru supplies to ‘dry up’ as strike dates confirmed

Cash rich A.G. Barr offers real terms pay cut despite £52.9m chilling in the bank

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Unite today (26 July) announced strike dates set to hit the world-renowned A.G. Barr’s production and distribution centre in Cumbernauld.

Unite confirmed that its trucker and shunter drivers who are essential to the supply of the company’s products including Irn-Bru, one of the nation’s most popular soft drinks, will now strike in a series of 24-hour stoppages.

Nine days of strike action will start on August 11 with the final stoppage being on October 6. A continuous ban on overtime will also begin on August 8. The A.G. Barr workers previously backed strike action by 83 per cent.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said, “Supplies of Irn-Bru could dry up in a few weeks due to the key role our members carry out for A.G. Barr. The company is cash rich with £52.9m chilling in the bank. Yet, they are offering our members a significant real terms pay cut when they can easily afford to pay more. We will back our members all the way in their fight for better jobs, pay and conditions.”

The trade union revealed that despite talks through the auspices of the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (Acas), there has been no breakthrough in the pay dispute. A.G. Barr have to date refused to move beyond the 5 per cent pay offer for 2023, which equates to a significant real-terms pay cut. The broader cost of living measurement (RPI) has remained stubbornly above 10 per cent during this year.

The popular multi-beverage business increased its revenue by 18.2 per cent to £317.6m for the year ended on 29 January 2023. The company which produces popular brands such as Irn-Bru increased its adjusted profit before tax to £43.5m, and due to strong revenue generation, it reported a net cash position of £52.9m.

Andy Brown, Unite industrial officer said, “Despite our best efforts to resolve this dispute through negotiation, A.G. Barr has not moved beyond 5 per cent. The only way it seems they will pay attention is if supplies of its popular products including Irn-Bru start to fizzle out which is exactly what is now on the cards.”

By Andrew Brady