DISTILLERY workers at whisky maker Whyte & Mackay will take part in “a summer of strike action” after pay talks stalled, a union has announced.

GMB Scotland members at three of the company’s Highland distilleries will walk out on Monday June 24, followed by 11 days of strikes in July and a further two weeks in August, after an “overwhelming” vote in favour of strike action.

Union members at the company’s Dalmore and Invergordon distilleries in Ross and Cromarty, and Tamnavulin in Moray, were balloted following what the union said was a pay offer of between 6% and 7%.

The union branded the offer “an insult” at a time when, they said, the company was making record profits and expanding operations.

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Lesley-Anne MacAskill, GMB Scotland organiser in the Highlands, said: “We told Whyte & Mackay today to expect a summer of strike action with our members united and determined their work is fairly recognised.

“Their support for action is overwhelming but unsurprising given the company’s refusal to properly reward them for the work that has helped generate record-breaking profits.

“While Whyte & Mackay celebrate commercial success, our members continue to be paid less than other workers in the industry. Enough is enough.

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“The company can be in no doubt our members are prepared for a summer of industrial action to win a fair pay rise.”

According to the union, 82% of members across the three distilleries backed industrial action in a ballot that saw a turnout of more than 80%.

Whyte & Mackay, which is owned by Philippine-based Emperador, operates Dalmore distillery at Alness in Ross and Cromarty; the nearby Invergordon grain distillery; Fettercairn in Aberdeenshire; Tamnavulin near Tomnavoulin, Moray; and Jura on the Hebridean island.

A spokesperson for Whyte & Mackay said: "We have been informed of proposed Strike Action by GMB at three sites. However, negotiations continue.

"All sides have agreed to meet, with the intention to explore if there is a way forward that may mitigate industrial action, or to confirm if we have indeed now exhausted collective bargaining.

"We have prepared plans to mitigate the impact of any strike action to our stake holders".