Union members, which include draymen, brewery production staff and warehouse workers voted in favour of a strike after years of 2% annual pay rises that the union claimed “fail to reflect the rising cost of living”.
Unite has more than 160 workers in Greene King’s brewing and brands department, with the membership split between Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk and distribution centres in Abingdon, Oxfordshire and Eastwood in Nottingham.
Unite regional officer Mark Jaina said: “Despite statements from Greene King’s managing director Matt Starbuck that the brewery was ready to find a way to resolve this dispute, Unite has heard nothing since this ballot was announced.”
Paltry pay rise
He added: “We hope now Greene King’s bosses know our members are serious about receiving a reasonable pay rise, they will be ready to make a sensible offer before business is disrupted.
“The leadership of CK Asset Holdings can’t be happy with the fact there is the possibility of loyal Greene King beer drinkers making do with short measures because of strikes.
“Our members do not want to take industrial action but they have been left with no choice because of the actions of Greene King’s management.
“The fact is another paltry 2% pay rise will not cut it when the cost of living is soaring and this dispute will not be settled until workers receive a reasonable increase to their wages.”
Greene King response
In response to the result, a spokesperson for Greene King said the company was disappointed Unite had encouraged its members to reject the 2% pay rise offer for its members as well as a number of other benefits.
The spokesperson added: “Our pay rise offer is fair and consistent across the brewing division, especially given the challenging wider economic environment.
“We would like to reassure all our customers that only three out of 15 delivery depots would potentially be impacted by any strike action – Bury St Edmunds, Eastwood and Abingdon – and Unite members account for fewer than 170 people out of 800 in our brewery workforce.
“This means we will still have a majority of non-Unite members working and we have drawn up full contingency plans to ensure there is minimal disruption to our customers.”