The talks came as shareholders greenlit the acquisition of the company by CK Asset Holdings in a deal worth £2.7bn.
Unite has warned management at the brewer’s headquarter in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk that it was preparing for an industrial action ballot after 200 members working across the brewing and brands department rejected a 2% pay rise for the year 2019/2020.
Industrial action would also affect Greene King’s distribution centres in Abingdon, Oxfordshire and Eastwood, Nottinghamshire.
Unite regional officer Mark Jain said the union’s members were fed up with being “palmed off” with the 2% pay rise that had been the norm for the last seven years.
“That figure is way below the soaring cost of living and, as a result, our members have seen a serious erosion of their incomes in real terms during that period,” he said.
“A new senior management team is playing hardball and Unite won’t tolerate this insulting treatment on pay. We expect to start balloting for industrial action by the end of the month.”
Unite said it was also seeking further clarity on the future job security of its members now that the takeover had been overwhelmingly approved by shareholders.
“We have had two meetings with management since the takeover was revealed in August, but the information disclosed so far is scanty, despite media reports that pub closures could be on the cards,” Jain added.
Meanwhile, Unite has urged Hain Celestial’s UK arm, Hain Daniels, to “come clean” with workers over its potential sale plans and is seeking guarantees that its members terms and conditions will be met should it go ahead.