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Greene King workers threaten strike over 'paltry' pay as £2.7bn takeover approved

PUBLISHED: 16:27 10 October 2019 | UPDATED: 16:27 10 October 2019

Greene King Sharholders have agreeds a £2.7bn takeover from Li Ka-Shing's CK Assets.  Picture: PA IMAGES

Greene King Sharholders have agreeds a £2.7bn takeover from Li Ka-Shing's CK Assets. Picture: PA IMAGES

PA Archive/PA Images

Unrest is brewing among Greene King employees after staff were offered a "paltry" pay offer amid a £2.7bn takeover deal.

Greene King shareholders have agreed a £2.7bn takeover from CK Assets. Photo: PA.Greene King shareholders have agreed a £2.7bn takeover from CK Assets. Photo: PA.

On Wednesday evening, shareholders approved a deal from Hong Kong's CK Asset (CKA) to acquire the Suffolk firm's portfolio of 3,000 pubs.

In total, 98.8% of investors agreed for Hong King's richest man Li Ka-Shing to take ownership of the 220-year-old chain which employees around 39,000 people.

The UK pub group and brewer Greene King has agreed a £2.7 billion sale to Hong Kong real estate giant CKA, the company has announced.  Picture: PA IMAGESThe UK pub group and brewer Greene King has agreed a £2.7 billion sale to Hong Kong real estate giant CKA, the company has announced. Picture: PA IMAGES

However, trade union Unite has warned a ballot for industrial action is looming as workers seek reassurances over job security and protest pay offers.

MORE: Suffolk village to get UK's fastest broadband in new trial

The union has told the Bury St Edmunds firm preparation for a ballot is under way after around 200 members in the brewing and brands department rejected a 2% pay increase for the year 2019/2020.

Greene King's Bury St Edmunds headquarters. Photo:  PA IMAGESGreene King's Bury St Edmunds headquarters. Photo: PA IMAGES

Unite regional officer Mark Jaina said: "Our members are fed up with being palmed off with a paltry 2% rise which has been the norm for the last six or seven years.

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"That figure is way below the soaring cost of living and, as a result, our members have seen a serious erosion of their incomes in real terms during that period.

"A new senior management team is playing hardball and Unite won't tolerate this insulting treatment on pay. We expect to start balloting for industrial action by the end of the month

Greene King shareholders have agreed a £2.7bn takeover from CK Assets. Photo: PA.Greene King shareholders have agreed a £2.7bn takeover from CK Assets. Photo: PA.

"We are also seeking further clarity on future job security now that the takeover has been overwhelmingly approved by Greene King shareholders.

"We have had two meetings with management since the takeover was revealed in August, but the information disclosed, so far, is scanty, despite media reports that pub closures could be on the cards."

Greene King has disputed comments made by the union.

A spokesman said: "We are disappointed Unite has chosen to reject our pay offer as well as other benefits. This offer is fair and consistent across the brewing division, especially given the challenging wider economic environment and we have explained this to Unite in a number of meetings.

"We reject Unite's claim that we have not provided information on the proposed recommended cash offer from CKA. We sought a meeting with Unite in August and explained the assurances given as part of the announcement."

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