Enterprise Inns has slammed the "sinister" activities of the GMB union.
The union is currently preparing to ballot tenant members over industrial action. In a letter to the Business, Innovation and Skills Committee (BISC), written last month and contained in the evidence bundle published yesterday, Enterprise chief operating officer Simon Townsend claims that the GMB is publishing "deeply disturbing and seriously irresponsible" advice.
He said: "The most sinister of these activities relates to the existence of a 'secure' website, access to which is restricted to individuals who have been 'security screened'.
"We have been shown copies of some of the information which the GMB is publishing. from lessees who were at first inquisitive but now feel they are being misled and are concerned as to the validity of the advice being given.
"There are three specific issues to which I wish to draw your attention, all of which incite tenants and lessees to breach their lease agreement."
Breach of lease
"(The) GMB has issued a template letter to some our lessees which claims that, by refusing to supply beer for which we have no prospect of being paid, we are in breach of the terms of their lease and this gives lessees the right to buy outside of the tie without fear of recourse or subsequent action.
"This advice is in direct contradiction of the clearly specified terms of each lease.
"(The) GMB has issued an advisory note directing licensees to refuse access to appointed agents such as the staff of flow-metering companies.
"I realise that the use of flow-metering equipment is a matter which your committee has sought to clarify, but I am again horrified that the GMB advice is in direct contravention of the specified terms in each lease.
"In an extraordinary sequence of events, GMB appear to have advised one lessee to claim back several months of rent under a Direct Debit Indemnity which the lessee's bank had no alternative but to honour.
"After several weeks of procrastination and correspondence with the lessee under the advice, we are informed, of the GMB, we had no alternative but to instigate forfeiture proceedings upon which all monies were immediately repaid.
"The lessee concerned has told us that he believes he was unwittingly used as a 'pawn' by the GMB to further their own agenda.
"Anything your committee can do to highight your concerns as to the advice being provided by the GMB would, I believe, be extremely valuable to tenants and lessees."
The BISC report yesterday urged licensees not to get involved in the campaign encouraging them to break their tie.
The report said: "This campaign encourages licensees to break their contract and therefore open themselves up to legal action.
"We have articulated our reservations about the tie on a number of occasions but this is not the way to proceed.
"It will only serve to harm those lessees who take part in the campaign.
"We are concerned about the potential harm to those lessees who decide to take part in the campaign."