Summer beer drought threat after BBG workers take industrial action

By Nikkie Thatcher contact

- Last updated on GMT

Company reply: Budweiser Brewing Group said it has plans in place to minimise the impact of potential industrial action on customers (image: Getty/FilippoBacci)
Company reply: Budweiser Brewing Group said it has plans in place to minimise the impact of potential industrial action on customers (image: Getty/FilippoBacci)

Related tags: Beer, Budweiser Brewing Group, Lager

Budweiser Brewing Group (BBG) workers could strike after more than 200 of them voted in favour of downing tools over a real terms pay cut, which a union has labelled "insulting".

This could mean pubs face difficulties receiving beer should the industrial action go ahead, GMB Union has warned.

From Wednesday 11 May, 225 GMB members working at the brewer’s Samlesbury site in Lancashire, which produces Budweiser, Stella Artois, Becks, Boddingtons and Export Pale ale, will start an overtime ban.

They will also not engage in training or complete face to face handovers from the above date.

This comes after discussions where BBG put forward a full and final offer of a 3% rise for 2022 and 3% for 2023 with increases in overtime rates.

Insulting pay offer

However, GMB stated with the current cost-of-living crisis and inflation at 9%, the offer amounts to a “massive pay cut” in real terms.

The union also said members supported full strike action, with dates to be confirmed, which would be the first time.

GMB organiser Stephen Boden said: “This industrial action is a result of BBG’s management making a frankly insulting pay offer.

“They are choosing to ignore workers and put profit before people with this derisory pay offer.

“How can they expect hard-working staff to accept real terms pay cut? But it’s not too late for management to listen to workers and get back round the table with us to work out a fair deal.”

Company response

A spokesperson from BBG said the company had a positive and long-standing relationship with GMB.

They added: “However, despite open and comprehensive negotiations with the GMB, industrial action has been voted for at our Samlesbury brewery.

“Our people are our greatest strength and as such we are proud to offer a competitive package – in the 90th​ percentile for total compensation – with benefits that include private medical cover and bonuses.

“We’ve made significant investments in Samlesbury, which have resulted in further innovation and automation, additional skills development, promotions and many new job opportunities.”

The spokesperson outlined the company has increased its headcount by more than 65. Furthermore, the business is hopeful through a continued open dialogue, a mutually- acceptable way forward could be reached, which would avoid industrial action.

“The teams have plans in place to minimise the impact on customers,” they said.

Related topics: Beer

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