Drinks supplies at risk as workers threaten strike action

By Helen Gilbert

- Last updated on GMT

Supplies of alcoholic and soft drinks could be disrupted if strike action goes ahead
Supplies of alcoholic and soft drinks could be disrupted if strike action goes ahead
Supplies of alcoholic and soft drinks under the Britvic, Pepsi, Coca-Cola, Carlsberg and Coors brands could run short in some parts of the UK this summer if strike action at a drinks logistics business goes ahead.

Unite the union is challenging Tradeteam over ‘unrealistic’ drop off and delivery times which they claim are “pushing workers to the limit of their physical endurance”.

The dispute affects about 100 drivers and their friends working out of the Immingham, Lincolnshire and Tinsley, Sheffield depots, which supply drinks to pubs and clubs across Yorkshire, Lincolnshire and the north Midlands.

Balloting members

It is understood that staff have been asked to speed up the time spent unloading deliveries at venues and workers are due to be balloted from Wednesday 29 May – 12 June.

“We are disappointed that Unite is balloting its members on industrial action,”​ a spokesperson for DHL Supply Chain, which is part of Tradeteam, said. “Talks are continuing with the aim of reaching a satisfactory outcome for all parties at the earliest opportunity.”

If the strike goes ahead, drinks deliveries to hospitality businesses owned by the likes of Greene King and Mitchells & Butlers as well as tipples brewed by Carlsberg and Coors could be hit, the union said in a statement. 

Health and safety concerns

“The focus of this dispute is the delivery of unmanageable loads that is being imposed by the Tradeteam bosses which, we believe, creates serious health and safety concerns for our members,”​ Unite regional officer Harriet Eisner said.

“The employer’s failure to adhere to the planned times for deliveries, which were revised in 2018 following a previous dispute, has now led to unrealistic planned hours for drivers. Our members are saying they cannot achieve their deliveries safely within the time the management is now setting for them.”

Meanwhile, Unite members transporting Walkers Snack Foods products have voted to go on a series of strikes​ after the union failed to settle a long-running dispute with Eddie Stobart over pay and conditions.

Related topics: People, Supply Chain, Beverages

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