Greene King brewery workers to hold strike ballot as managers accused of 'macho posturing'
PUBLISHED: 11:47 04 December 2019 | UPDATED: 13:31 04 December 2019
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Workers at pubs and brewery giant Greene King are set to hold a ballot on strike action in a dispute over pay.
The Unite union has branded a 2% pay offer by the Bury St Edmunds-based company as "paltry", and accused the company's senior team of "macho managerial posturing" over the issue.
The union - the largest in Britain and Ireland - is balloting more than 160 of its brewery worker members, which include draymen, brewery production staff and warehouse workers.
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The ballot of members in the brewing and brands department is set to open on Tuesday, December 10, and close on Monday, January 13, 2020, setting the company and workers on course for a bitter winter dispute.
The workers are based in Bury St Edmunds, the firm's Suffolk headquarters, as well as at Greene King distribution centres in Abingdon, Oxfordshire and Eastwood, Nottinghamshire.
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It follows the £4.6bn takeover of company - which can trace its roots in the town back to 1799 and has 3,000 pubs - by Hong Kong-based property asset firm CK Asset Holdings in August.
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.
"Recent pay rises are way below the soaring cost of living and our members have said: 'Enough is enough'.
"We have tried to reach a fair settlement with the management in recent months, but we have hit a brick wall and are now holding a ballot for strike action.
"The new senior team seems more intent on macho managerial posturing than smooth-running industrial relations - however, there is still time to sit down for constructive talks before possible strike action in the new year."
A spokesperson for Greene King said: "We are disappointed Unite has chosen to reject our pay offer as well as other benefits and announce its intention to hold a strike ballot. 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."