Strike vote threatens northern beer deliveries

By Nicholas Robinson contact

- Last updated on GMT

Beer delivery threat: drivers vote in favour of strike
Beer delivery threat: drivers vote in favour of strike
Drivers who deliver beer to pub chains in the north and the Midlands have voted in favour of strike action, which could threaten stock levels in some pubs.

A warning was sent by Unite the union last month as hundreds of staff and drivers in the northern depots of logistics firm Tradeteam were balloted to decide on a strike.

Workers in Yorkshire, Lincolnshire and the Midlands claimed they were being asked to deliver “unmanageable loads”, leading around 100 lorry drivers and their colleagues employed by the DHL-owned operation to take to the polls.

The strike ballot was opened on 29 May and closed yesterday​ (11 June).

Unite regional officer Harriet Eisner confirmed to The Morning Advertiser ​(MA​) the 100 drivers involved in the dispute had “overwhelmingly” voted for the strike.

Crisis meeting

“Our 100 drivers and their mates, employed by drinks logistics company Tradeteam Ltd at Immingham in Lincolnshire and Tinsley, Sheffield, have voted overwhelmingly – 79% in favour – to take strike action over the delivery of unmanageable loads,” said Eisner.

“Unite is meeting with the management on Monday (17 June) in a bid to resolve this dispute and avoid the need for industrial action.

“We won’t be commenting further until after those talks have been completed.”

If talks fail and the strike goes ahead, pubcos Greene King, Mitchells & Butlers, JD Wetherspoon and Whitbread could face a shortage of some beers in certain sites.

Products expected to be affected in the case of a strike include those produced by Carlsberg and Molson Coors.

Bid to mitigate risks

A spokesperson from Carlsberg said: “For the past few weeks, we have been working closely with DHL Trade Team to mitigate risks to supply in the event of a decision to strike.

“While we remain hopeful a satisfactory outcome is achieved; should action be taken, we are confident that our preparations to date will minimise disruption to our customers.”

A Molson Coors spokesperson said: "We're disappointed with the ballot result, but we know talks continue between Tradeteam and Unite and hope industrial action may yet be avoided.

"In the event a strike goes ahead, we'll be working closely with Tradeteam to ensure continuity of supply for our customers."

The pub operators were all contacted, with JDW declining to comment, leaving MA ​waiting for response from Greene King and Mitchells & Butlers.

Whitbread's spokesperson said: "We are monitoring the situation closely and have a clear contingency plan in place to ensure our sites will still have adequate supplies should the strike go ahead."

A DHL spokesperson said: “We are disappointed that Unite’s members have voted in favour of industrial action.

“Talks are continuing with the aim of reaching a satisfactory outcome for all parties at the earliest opportunity and we will continue working with our customers to minimise disruption in the unfortunate event of any industrial action.”

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