Food Drink and Tobacco

The Food, Drink & Agriculture sector was formed in mid 2015 by uniting the combined membership from Unite's food, drink and tobacco sector and the rural and agricultural workers' sector. This page presents the legacy content from the FDT section.

Welcome to Unite's food, drink and tobacco sector. 

The food and drink sector is the largest manufacturing sector in the UK and employs around 400,000 people, or approximately 17% of the UK's manufacturing workforce. Unite has members working for companies such as Unilever, Kraft / Cadbury, Nestlé, Princes, Greencore, Bakkavor, Heinz and Coors Brewing.
The sector also includes many of the 800,000 workers in retail food, with a substantial presence in supermarkets such as Sainsbury's where our 17,000 members make it one of the largest single companies represented across the whole of Unite.
A significant proportion of the 175,000 people employed in the transportation of food and drink are also represented by Unite, for example those involved in the beer delivery sector (KNDL, Carlsberg and Trade Team) and the distribution of branded products such as Coca-Cola and Britvic.

The hotel, restaurant and catering industries employ 1.3 million people, many of whom are part-time female workers. Unite also represents pub managers and bar staff in most of the key metropolitan cities and catering workers in companies such as Compass and Sodexo. The sector also represents other workers in the leisure sector in betting shops and casinos.
Finally, Unite represents a large proportion of the 6,000 workers employed in the UK's tobacco industry in JTI, Imperial Tobacco and BAT.

Julia Long, national officer

Unite news digest


Sector news

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The biggest union in the pub sector representing around 10,000 licensees and part of Unite

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Contacts for the sector

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