Unite has announced the first strike dates for its Greene King members, following a ballot in January when they voted for industrial action after rejecting a 2% pay rise from the pub giant.
An initial two day strike will take place on 12 -13 March, which depending on members' shift hours may stretch into the 14 March. Another 12 dates of strike action are expected to be announced with two weeks’ notice, as required by law.
Unite trade union members participating in the strike include 160 draymen, warehouse workers and brewery production staff based in three of Greene King’s 15 distribution centres in Bury St Edmunds, Eastwood and Abingdon. Union members account for fewer than 800 of the brewery workforce.
Unite regional officer Mark Jaina said: “These pay negotiations have dragged on for months with a hard-line management being blinkered as to the ever-rising cost of living that our members have endured for several years.
“The relatively new owners of Greene King - CK Asset Holdings – can’t be happy at the reputational damage that strike action will cause to customers so soon after taking control of one of the UK’s premier hospitality and beer brands.
“However, there is a window of opportunity before the first strikes next month and we urge the management to take this opportunity for them to get around the table and negotiate in a constructive fashion to resolve this dispute.”
A Greene King spokesperson said: “We remain disappointed that the union has encouraged its members to reject our pay offer for its members, as well as a number of other benefits, and pursue this course of action. Our pay rise offer is fair and consistent across the brewing division, especially given the challenging wider economic environment.”
Greene King has 38,000 employees and an estate of more than 3,000 pubs. It was sold for £4.6bn to CK Asset Holdings in August last year.