Greene King employees who are part of the Unite union have voted for strike action after rejecting a 2% pay rise offer from the pub giant.
More than 160 of the trade union's members were balloted in the brewing and brands department, which includes draymen, warehouse workers and brewery production staff based in the three of the firm'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: "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. 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 2% 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
The ballot opened on Tuesday 10 December 2019 and closed on Monday 13 January 2020. Unite must give Greene King two weeks' notice for industrial action and has until mid-July to stage the walkout.
A Greene King spokesperson said: "We remain disappointed Unite has encouraged its members to reject our offer of a 2% pay rise 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."
The firm does not expect any significant disruption to deliveries, the Greene King spokesperson said. It added: "We will still have a majority of non-Unite members working and we have drawn up full contingency plans to ensure there is minimal disruption to our customers."
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.