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Whyte & Mackay’s Distillery Workers Set For Strike Action

Dalmore Distillery in the Highlands, owned by Whyte & Mackay


Workers at Whyte & Mackay’s Dalmore and Invergordon distilleries could be on the brink of strike action following a rejected pay offer.

The trade union GMB Scotland, which represents the workers, labeled the offer as ‘insulting’ and stated that 94% of members voted against the proposed pay rise of between 5% and 6%.

GMB Scotland has criticized Whyte & Mackay, arguing that the company, which is part of Philippine-based Emperador, is financially capable of offering a more significant pay rise due to the ‘record profits’ it has been making and its ongoing expansion.

Record Profits for Whyte & Mackay 

Whyte & Mackay reported pre-tax profits of $103 million (£81.3 million) in 2022, and according to GMB, a 20% pay increase for its workers would cost around £8.3 million (£6.6 million).

The trade union has called out the disparity in the company’s financial management, pointing out the $67 million (£53 million) in dividends received by shareholders in a four-year period (2019-2022). Additionally, the highest-paid director reportedly earned $896,000 (£710,000) in 2022, which is 11 times more than the average salary paid to their workers.

Workers ‘Determined’ 

Lesley-Anne MacAskill, GMB Scotland organizer in the Highlands, voiced the workers’ determination to secure a fair pay increase. “It is clear from the result of this ballot that our members are absolutely united in rejecting this offer and determined to take whatever industrial action is necessary to secure a fair pay rise from a company making record profits,” said MacAskill. 

Whyte & Mackay has an extensive range of whiskies and has been seeing record profits.


GMB Scotland further criticized Whyte & Mackay for spending thousands on cosmetic improvements. Such improvements included installing large murals at the Invergordon distillery, while some of their employees are reportedly resorting to food banks to feed their families. MacAskill added that the workers’ struggle to make ends meet during a cost-of-living crisis cannot be overlooked while managers celebrate commercial success.

In response to the situation, a spokesperson for Whyte & Mackay confirmed that pay negotiations with the trade union are ongoing.

Whyte & Mackay Plan Expansions 

Whyte & Mackay also operates scotch whisky distilleries Fettercairn, Tamnavulin in Speyside, and Jura. Its parent company, Emperador, plans to invest $125 million into expanding its scotch whisky and brandy production, with upgrades planned for all five of its Scottish sites.

The company announced extension plans at Invergordon last year, following similar plans at single malt distillery The Dalmore the year before. The impact of the potential industrial action on these expansion plans is yet to be seen.

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