Diageo workers vote 100% in favour of strike action

 

Diageo signBy Ron Giofu

 

Workers at Diageo have wholeheartedly endorsed taking strike action should their union and the company not be able to reach a contract by the end of the month.

Employees represented by Unifor Local 2098 voted 100 per cent in favour of proceeding with strike action should a new collective agreement not be reached by the Jan. 31 deadline, said Local 2098 president D.J. Lacey. The strike vote meeting took place Saturday morning at the Knights of Columbus Hall.

Lacey said the key issues for the union do not centre around wages, benefits or pensions, but rather job security. Unifor Local 2098 wants to see new investment in the Amherstburg plant in order to keep jobs here and attract new ones.

“We understand the way the economy is,” said Lacey. He added they are not making “huge demands” but want to see the local plant “secure investment so that the Amherstburg facility has a future.

“We want to do anything we can to protect what we have,” said Lacey.

Union membership are “behind us 100 per cent,” he stated.

Talks are continuing, he said, with Lacey stating the union is willing to continue the dialogue.

“We’ll be working all the way to the 31st as long as the company wants to talk,” he said.

Lacey said he couldn’t speak too much on specifics of the talks but said the union is “very optimistic” that talks will continue in an effort to find middle ground.

“We’re stuck on a few issues,” said Lacey. “We’re stuck on issues that, fundamentally as a union, we can’t move on.”

A conciliator is also scheduled to come in later this month to try and help the company and union resolve some of the outstanding issues.

Bob Paling, vice president of corporate relations with Diageo, acknowledged the company is in negotiations with workers at the Amherstburg plant. He said he could not get into details about the talks, stating “it’s very important we respect the process.”

Paling added the goal is to “ensure a sustainable, long-term future for the site.”

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