Warning that pubs could run out of lager as beer delivery staff prepare to strike

Pubs nationwide could run dry of lager if 1,700 beer delivery workers employed by GXO vote for strike action, trade union Unite has warned.

The dispute, involving workers in Normanton in West Yorkshire, as well as Manchester, Derby, Coventry, Livingston and Thatcham is over longstanding issues with the logistic giant’s payroll system.

Unite said that for months the GXO workers, who deliver lager to more than 20,000 UK hospitality venues, have suffered delayed payments and underpayments of wages, pension contributions and holiday pay.

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The union said the problems began after GXO introduced a new payroll system and could result in a lager ‘drought’ across the country if the workers vote for strike action in the ballot, which opens on 4 March and closes on 18 March.

Warning over beer shortages.Warning over beer shortages.
Warning over beer shortages.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “Our members at GXO have had enough – they should be paid what they are owed and on time. GXO’s new payroll system has caused real hardship for our members, throwing finances into chaos with late payments and underpayments.

“GXO’s response to this has been completely unacceptable and our members, whose jobs, pay and conditions are this union’s top priority, will receive Unite’s complete support if they vote for strike action.”

A consultative ballot by Unite held late last year over whether its members at GXO, formerly known as XPO, wanted to proceed to a full-scale industrial action ballot, with the option to strike, returned a 99 per cent majority in favour.

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Since then, Unite has sought to resolve the issue with dialogue but so far GXO has failed to put forward a resolution that the union’s membership could accept.

Beer delivery workers are set to strike.Beer delivery workers are set to strike.
Beer delivery workers are set to strike.

Unite national officer for food, drink and agriculture, Joe Clarke, said: “Through its actions, GXO is in danger of creating a nationwide lager drought just as the hospitality industry is recovering from the pandemic.

“GXO can prevent this dispute from escalating by tabling a solution that resolves our members’ concerns and sees them promptly paid what they are owed.”

The Yorkshire Post has contacted GXO for comment.

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