BBG workers start walk out over ‘derisory’ pay offer

By Nikkie Thatcher

- Last updated on GMT

Workers walk out: the strike action started at 7am today (Monday 22 August) and runs for a week (image: Getty/tomazl)
Workers walk out: the strike action started at 7am today (Monday 22 August) and runs for a week (image: Getty/tomazl)

Related tags Beer Budweiser Brewing Group Lager Brewery

Budweiser Brewing Group (BBG) workers have turned down the latest pay offer from the company and have down tools as a result.

Some 275 GMB workers at the brewer’s Samlesbury site, near Preston in Lancashire have undertaken strike action starting today (Monday 22 August).

BBG said it continued to be committed to finding an outcome for all parties and has been trying to manage negotiations productively.

GMB organiser Stephen Boden said: “We don’t believe there is any real desire from BBG to resolve this dispute.

“It’s disgraceful they can cancel a meeting the evening before we are due to meet with no real reason.

“Therefore, we will be going ahead with a series of stoppages over eight days, impacting all departments and shifts across the site.”

Angry workers

He called upon the brewer to meet with GMB and come to an agreement on the pay offer, after the latest one was rejected by 93% of the trade union’s members.

Boden added: “The walk out starts 7am Monday 22 August and runs until 7pm Monday 29 August, with further stoppages scheduled for September.

“[BBG] continues to ignore workers and put profit before people with this derisory pay offer. Workers are rightly angry.

“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.”

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

Mutually acceptable outcome

They added: “However despite continued open negotiations, the GMB has confirmed industrial action at our Samlesbury brewery.

“We remain committed to finding a mutually acceptable outcome and have been making every effort to manage the negotiations in the most productive manner.

“Our people are our greatest strength and as such, we are proud to offer a competitive package – wages in the brewery are in the top 10% for the region and a range of benefits are provided including private medical cover, wellbeing allowance, access to the Verhelst Foundation to support physical and mental wellbeing, a ‘perks at work’ programme, product vouchers, opportunities for scholarship funds 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 went on to outline the expansion of the company’s workforce and how it has mitigated the impact of the strikes on its customers.

“Our recent years we have increased our headcount by more than 65. We have a very dedicated and talented leadership team to support with the production of our much-loved beers and do not expect any beer shortages,” they added.

“We have implemented plans to ensure supply has not been interrupted, including enhanced logistics measures and cooperation with transport partners to minimise the impact to customers and consumers.”

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