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Drinkers warned of ‘Christmas beer drought’ amid strike action

Military on 'stand-by' as ministers prepare for wave of strikes

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Greene King brewery staff will join the latest storm of industrial action as employees walk out amid a dispute over pay. Trade union Unite has confirmed 188 of its members will go on strike, affecting Nottinghamshire and Oxfordshire Greene King brewery sites. The union has warned disappointed drinkers could face a “Christmas beer drought” if negotiations fail to produce improved terms for the workers.

Workers will begin an initial five days of strike action between December 5 and December 10.

The walkout will affect sites that brew and distribute Greene King products, including IPA, Old Speckled Hen and Abbot Ale.

The decision to take strike action arose after employees were offered a three percent pay rise and a further one-off payment of £650.

Amid the cost of living crisis,  which has seen the inflation rate soar to over 11 percent, Unite has described the proposed pay deal as “pitiful”.

A press release from the union branded the offer a “real terms wage cut” for Greene King employees.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “Greene King’s owners are incredibly wealthy, the failure to offer workers a decent pay rise is all about greed and not about need.

“Unite, which is now entirely focussed on defending the jobs, pay and conditions of its members, will not idly stand by while a wealthy company tries to further boost its profits by subjecting its workers to substantial real terms pay cuts.

“Unite members at Greene King will receive the union’s complete and total support throughout their dispute.”

Unite regional officer Mark Jaina added: “Greene King needs to stop wringing its hands and make our members a decent pay offer.”

Read more: Hundreds of military personnel in training to deal with strike chaos

The brewery walkouts come as the latest addition to a flood of strike action set to disrupt public life throughout December.

The RMT union has escalated nationwide industrial action after announcing a string of 48-hour strikes set to scupper travel plans throughout December and January.

On Monday, the RMT rejected the offer of an eight percent pay rise and a guarantee of no compulsory redundancies until April 2024.

RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said: “We have rejected this offer as it does not meet any of our criteria for securing a settlement on long-term job security, a decent pay rise and protecting working conditions.  

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In a concerning development, NHS employees have also voted in favour of industrial action in a bid to improve pay and working conditions.

The Royal College of Nursing will begin strike action from December 15, involving 100,000 nursing staff up and down the country.

Unison, the UK’s largest trade union, has issued a stark warning to the Conservative Government with the suggestion that ambulance workers across England are likely to strike before Christmas.

The announcement was followed by confirmation from the GMB union that more than 10,000 ambulance workers have voted to strike across nine trusts in England and Wales.

Read next: 
Royal Mail boss left red faced after aide spotted ‘writing answers’ 
Ambulance worker claims ‘we won’t let public suffer’ despite strikes
NHS cancer care will not be disrupted by nurses’ strike action
NHS warned public ‘won’t take kindly’ to flood of Christmas strikes
Eurostar workers to strike in December

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