‘Payroll chaos’ at GXO threatens beer deliveries to thousands of pubs

By Nikkie Thatcher

- Last updated on GMT

Strike action threat: a lack of beer deliveries could affect more than 20,000 sites (credit: Getty/farakos)
Strike action threat: a lack of beer deliveries could affect more than 20,000 sites (credit: Getty/farakos)

Related tags: Finance, Beer, Health and safety, Cellar management

An industrial action ballot has been threatened at logistics firm GXO because of a “complete mess” in the new payroll system.

The issue has resulted in about 1,700 workers not being paid in full on time each month, according to union Unite.

If Unite members vote in favour of strike action, it could threaten deliveries of Heineken beer and lager to more than 20,000 pubs, restaurants and clubs across the UK.

Members impacted by the payroll issues are employed the GXO primarily and secondary logistics contracts.

Unite conducted a consultative ballot about whether its members at GXO wanted to continue to a full-scale industrial action ballot, with the option to strike, which returned a 99% majority in favour.

Completely unacceptable

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “It is completely unacceptable the new operator of the payroll system brought in by GXO has presided over a complete mess that has caused our members great anxiety as wages are either ‘short’ and/or not paid on time.

“GXO bosses need to get this sorted out very quickly, otherwise a new year ballot for strike action could lead to Heineken beer and lager deliveries across the UK being severely disrupted in 2022.”

The union said for the past nine months workers had experienced consistent shortfalls in wages and overtime payments, which had caused unnecessary stress for members trying to pay their bills.

Unite national officer for the food industry Joe Clarke added: “The depth of anger our members feel about being ‘short changed’ for the past nine months was reflected in the near unanimous vote for a strike ballot – it is time to end this payroll chaos.”

Top priority

A spokesperson for GXO said: “Our employees are our top priority. We are aware of payroll processing issues that have impacted some of our colleagues and appreciate this may have caused concern.

“We take this matter very seriously and are actively engaging with affected colleagues, managers and staff representatives on a case-by-case basis to resolve the issue as quickly as possible.”

In October, a pay rise for 350 GXO drivers and warehouse staff was agreed​, which Unite said was a “massive milestone in very difficult times”.

The union said it had negotiated an up to 23% pay rise for drivers and up to 10% for warehouse staff employed by GXO, at sites across the nation. The 15-month award runs to 1 January 2023.

There had previously been planned strike action by 1,000 draymen before the improved pay offer from GXO was put forward and it was postponed.

Unite had recommended the draymen, which it estimated were responsible for about 40% of beer deliveries across the UK and were based at 26 sites, accept the 4% pay offer.

The trade union labelled GXO’s previous pay offer of 1.4% as “paltry”​​​ and 97% of its members voted in favour of strike action and for industrial action short of a strike by 99% over the company’s offer of 1.4% for 2021.

The dispute was settled​​ after the workers voted in favour of accepting a higher pay offer. Unite members voted by an 80% majority on a 94% turnover to accept the new offer of 4% from GXO for this year.

Related topics: Legislation

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