Union warns of ‘summer beer drought' as brewery workers support strike

28 April 2022 by
Union warns of ‘summer beer drought' as brewery workers support strike

A trade union has warned of a potential ‘summer beer drought' after brewery workers voted in favour of strike action.

Some 225 members of the GMB Union at Budweiser Brewing Group's Samlesbury site have backed industrial action over a pay dispute.

From 11 May GMB members will start an overtime ban, not engage in training or complete face to face handovers. The group also supports full strike action and strike dates are yet to be confirmed.

GMB said the dispute was over a proposed 3% pay increase, which it described as an "insulting" offer with the "cost-of-living [crisis] and inflation at 9%".

The Samlesbury site brews Budweiser, Stella Artois, Becks, Boddingtons, and Export Pale Ale.

Budweiser Brewing Group said it had plans in place to minimise any impact on customers.

Stephen Boden, GMB organiser, said: "Workers are rightly angry and if this strike goes the distance Budweiser could face a summer beer drought."

A spokesperson from Budweiser Brewing Group said the company had a "positive and long-standing" relationship with the union and pay negotiations had been "open and comprehensive".

The spokesperson added: "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. Over recent years we have increased our headcount by over 65.

"We are hopeful that through a continued open dialogue we can still reach a mutually acceptable way forward which will avoid industrial action. The teams have plans in place to minimise the impact on customers."

Boden said it was "not too late" for managers to "get back round the table" to work out a deal.

Image: ENZELEN / Shutterstock

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