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Greene King union staff members vote for strike action

Greene King workers who are part of the Unite union have voted for strike action following a “paltry” pay offer by the brewery.

Unite members, including draymen, brewery production staff and warehouse workers, voted “strongly in favour” of strike action after rejecting a 2% pay rise which they argue does not “reflect the cost of living”.

The union has more than 160 members in Greene King’s brewing and brands department, with the membership split between Bury St Edmunds, the firm’s Suffolk headquarters, and distribution centres in Abingdon, Oxfordshire and Eastwood, Nottinghamshire.

The ballot comes after the £4.6bn takeover of Greene King, which has 3,000 pubs, by CK Asset Holdings in August.

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.

“We hope that 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.”

He added: “The leadership of CK Asset Holdings can’t be happy with the fact that 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 that another paltry two per cent 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.”

A Greene King spokesperson said: “We remain disappointed that some union members are pursuing this course of action. 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 and involves fewer than 170 people out of 800 in our brewery workforce and 38,000 across Greene King. We have drawn up full contingency plans to ensure there is minimal disruption to our customers.”

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