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AG Barr accused of anti-union tactics at Irn-Bru plant

Roger White and Irn-Bru
Roger White is due a seven figure retirement package

Irn-Bru manufacturer AG Barr has been accused of using bullying tactics to break a strike by workers over a pay claim. 

The Unite union says the Cumbernauld-based business is using of agency labour in breach of employment legislation that protects workers taking industrial action.

It is demanding an investigation by the Department for Business and Trade into AG Barr and the contractor – Stobbart and Streamline – during previous rounds of strike action, and is calling for any possible enforcement action to be taken.

The workers are scheduled to resume 24-hour strike action from midnight on Friday.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham, said: “AG Barr’s behaviour during this pay dispute has been disgraceful. The company is on the brink of forever tarnishing its reputation with not only the workers but the Scottish public.

“A.G. Barr is displaying nasty anti-union tactics in an attempt to bully and intimidate our members back to work. Unite will not tolerate this behaviour and we will challenge it head-on in the defence of our members’ jobs, pay and conditions.” 

AG Barr’s long-serving chief executive, Roger White, recently announced he will be retiring over the next 12 months. Unite says that the pay dispute could be settled at a cost amounting to a fraction of Mr White’s last bonus payout of £462,000. 

He received the bonus pay along with a salary of £503,000 for the year ending January 2023. Mr White’s current total remuneration package stands at £1.78m.

Andy Brown, Unite industrial officer said: “How the CEO, Mr White, can even begin to say with a straight face that our members don’t deserve more than five per cent when he has a remuneration package totalling nearly £1.8m is ludicrous.” 

A spokesperson for AG Barr said: “We strongly refute the provocative accusations by Unite the union that we have potentially engaged in illegal activity during industrial action.

“This is untrue and strongly denied. We respect our drivers’ decision to take industrial action, which is their personal choice. We have done nothing to deter or intimidate them.

“We note that Unite has apparently made a report to the Department of Business and Trade. We will of course co-operate in any investigation to provide the necessary evidence.”

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