GK brewery workers walk out over ‘pitiful’ pay offer

By Nikkie Thatcher

- Last updated on GMT

Strike action: the Greene King workers are based at a number of the company's breweries
Strike action: the Greene King workers are based at a number of the company's breweries

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Staff working in the brewery arm of Greene King are conducing strike action next month (December), sparking fears of beer shortages.

The brewer and pub operator has been criticised for the pay offer it put forward however, Greene King called the offer "fair and consistent".

Some 188 workers that are members of Unite, are based at Bury St Edmunds, Eastwood in Nottinghamshire and Abingdon in Oxfordshire.

They brew and distribute Greene King’s beers including IPA, Old Speckled Hen and Abbot Ale.

The strike action will be taking place from Monday 5 December for five days after workers voted in favour of it following a 3% pay rise offer and a further one-off payment of £650 from the business.

Wage cut

According to the union, with the real inflation rate at 14.2%, the offer amounts to a ‘very substantial’ real terms wage cut.

Greene King issued assurances the company was doing all it could to minimise the impact on supply.

A spokesperson said: “We are disappointed the union has encouraged its members to reject our pay offer as well as a number of other benefits and pursue this course of action.

“Our pay rise offer is fair and consistent across the business, especially given the challenging wider economic environment.

“We have full contingency plans in place to minimise disruption and we will be working closely with our customers to communicate and implement these in the coming days.”

Complete and total support

In 2019, Hong Kong-based company CK Asset Holdings took on Greene King in a deal worth £2.7bn​.

General secretary Sharon Graham said: “Greene King’s owners are incredibly wealthy the failure to offer workers a decent pay rise is all about greed and not about need.

“Unite, which is now entirely focused on defending the jobs, pay and conditions of its members, will not idly stand by while a wealthy company tries to further boost its profits by subjecting its workers to substantial real terms pay cuts.

“Unite members at Greene King will receive the union’s complete and total support throughout their dispute.”

The strike action could result in drinkers being denied their favourite tipple, according to Unite regional officer Mark Jaina.

He added: “But this dispute is entirely of Greene King’s own making. It has had every chance to make a fair pay offer but has refused to do so. Greene King needs to stop wringing its hands and make our members a decent pay offer.”

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