James Wilmore: Could a camel and a pig be used against the pubcos?

By James Wilmore

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Fair pint, Prime minister of the united kingdom

So get this, a former Fuller's brewery worker could have a major impact on the way pubcos operate.The man in question is Paul Kenny, the formidable...

So get this, a former Fuller's brewery worker could have a major impact on the way pubcos operate.

The man in question is Paul Kenny, the formidable general secretary of trade union the GMB, who apparently began his working life as a 15 year-old at Fuller's Chiswick brewery.

But this is the thing. Kenny has the ear of Gordon Brown, while his union is now firmly entrenched with the Fair Pint campaign - and up for a ruck.

Enterprise Inns probably irked Kenny somewhat last month by suggesting the GMB does not "have a clue how the industry operates".

But Kenny is a maverick, having in the past used a camel and a pig​ (on separate occasions) to stage elaborate stunts to make his point.

The pig was used to protest against executive pay and the camel was used as a biblical reference - marched to a church where a private equity boss was worshipping.

Quite how he would employ such tactics against the pubcos I don't know. But I'm informed he has the pubco issue very much in his sights.

It must be a dream come true for Fair Pint to now have such genuine heavyweight backing (on top of financial muscle from gigs guru Vince Power). This week, at the GMB's annual conference in Blackpool, it also gave them the opportunity to meet some of Gordon Brown's advisors.

The Fair Pint four also pressed the flesh with the Prime Minister himself, and secured an invite to Number 10.

As a witness to the photo, it was clearly a stage managed event, but nonetheless impressive how Brown headed straight for the Fair Pint gang immediately after he left the stage.

It's clearly a major issue (and recruiting tactic) for the GMB at the moment - also evidenced by a poll on its homepage.

Brown did seem a bit hesitant and vague in answering the "pubcos question" (as he referred to it) - but no doubt will be brought fully up to speed at any subsequent meeting.

The one question left to ponder this week is where Fair Pint is left in terms of ideology. It has said it wants the tie to be investigated by the government, but members of the group were at Nick Bish's "mediation" bash this week - which is aiming to avoid a competition probe.

May be they should turn up on a camel at the next meeting to make their point...

Related topics: Legislation

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