Around 100 lorry drivers and their colleagues employed by drinks logistics company Tradeteam at northern depots will take to the ballots to decide on strike action next week, following complaints the drivers were being asked to handle “unmanageable loads”.
If a decision to strike is made during the ballot, which will open on 29 May and close on 12 June, pubcos Greene King, Mitchells & Butlers, JD Wetherspoon and Whitbread could face a beer shortage in certain sites.
Carlsberg and Molson Coors
Products that could be affected by the potential strike include those brewed by Carlsberg and Molson Coors, Unite has claimed.
A spokesperson for Carlsberg said: "DHL Tradeteam has informed us that talks are ongoing in relation to the potential industrial action.
"Should it go ahead, then we will work with DHL Tradeteam to ensure that supply to our customers is not impacted."
Molson Coors was also optimistic about the continuing talks, adding: "We are hopeful for a positive resolution.
"In the event any industrial action occurs, we'll be working closely with Tradeteam to ensure continuity of supply for our customers."
Tradeteam workers have claimed the workload they have been given is too heavy and poses a serious health and safety risk, said Unite regional officer Harriet Eisner.
“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,” she said.
Cannot achieve safely
“Our members are saying they cannot achieve their deliveries safely within the time the management is now setting for them.
“If the strike goes ahead, pub, club and restaurant goers could be going thirsty in Yorkshire, Lincolnshire and the north Midlands this summer,” continued Eisner.
“But this drinks ‘drought’ can be avoided, if the Tradeteam management came back to the negotiating table with realistic timings for the delivery loads and a serious acknowledgement of health and safety issues that our members have raised.”
A spokesperson for DHL Supply Chain, Tradeteam's operator, said: "We are disappointed that Unite is balloting its members on industrial action.
"Talks are continuing with the aim of reaching a satisfactory outcome for all parties at the earliest opportunity."
The Morning Advertiser has approached Greene King, Mitchells & Butlers and JD Wetherspoon for comment.