Molson Coors brewery workers have agreed not to go on strike after signing a last-ditch deal that ends a long-running dispute over pay and conditions.

Trouble started brewing at the Burton-on-Trent site in March when Molson Coors threatened to slash the pay of 184 technicians by £9,000 a year and overhaul shift patterns, meaning the 455 workers could be called in at 24 hours’ notice.

The workers threatened industrial action – with 97% voting in favour – and rejected Molson Coors’ first proposal to resolve the dispute on July 1 following a ballot by the union Unite.

They have now voted to accept a second deal, averting strike action at the 11th hour.

The workers facing £9,000 cuts will now lose £862 from January 1, 2014, and another £862 from January 1, 2015, and the changes to shift patterns were scrapped.

Unite claimed it as a victory for its members, with the union’s regional officer Rick Coyle saying: “This workforce stunned Molson Coors by the strength, determination and scale of the solidarity they displayed.  
“The 97% 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.”

The Burton plant produces Carling, Grolsch, Coors Lite, Cobra, Worthington, White Shield and Stones.

A long-running dispute between Molson Coors and staff at its Burton-on-Trent brewery has ended

The deal includes:

  • 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
  • Severance/redundancy payments available for all workers facing a pay cut
  • Radical shift proposals – which could have been changed at 24 hours notice and workers called in while on holiday – are completely withdrawn
  • Pay protection not only fully retained, but temporarily improved until 2017.