Up to 160 workers including warehouse workers, delivery drivers, draymen and production staff are expected to down tools on 12 and 13 March in a dispute over pay.
Unite the union warned of a ‘beer drought’ as it announced a rolling programme of strikes starting at Greene King’s headquarters in Bury St Edmunds and distribution centres at Abingdon, Oxfordshire and Eastwood, Nottinghamshire.
However, a Greene King spokeswoman said only three out of 15 depots across the country would be affected and confirmed “full contingency plans” were in place to “minimise disruption”.
Impact on customers
“We will be working closely with our customers to communicate and implement these over the coming two weeks,” she said.
“Union members account for fewer than 170 people out of 800 in our brewery workforce, which means we will still have a majority of non-union members working. We would like to thank them and our customers for their loyalty and support during this period.”
Unite said the strike action might stretch to March 14 – depending on worker shift patterns - and confirmed there’d be a lunchtime protest at Westgate brewery, Bury St Edmunds on Friday 6 March.
An additional 12 dates have been planned with strikes expected to run into July.
Years of 2% pay rises
Workers voted for industrial action in January in response to years of 2% pay rises, Unite claimed.
“These pay negotiations have dragged on for months with a hardline management being blinkered as to the ever-rising cost of living that our members have endured for several years,” said Unite regional officer Mark Jaina.
“This strike could lead to the severe disruption in supplies to pubs, clubs and restaurants and some drinkers could face a beer drought as a result.”
Jaina urged management to “get around the table and negotiate in a constructive fashion to resolve this dispute.”
The action comes after the £2.7bn takeover of Greene King, by CK Asset Holdings last year.