A global pay freeze by brewers Carlsberg has left a sour taste in the mouth for workers at its Northampton plant.
As a result, nearly 200 engineers, brewers, processers and packers at the Bridge Street site will be taking part in a continuous ban on overtime and work-to-rule from 00:01 hours on Thursday (1 October).
The workers, members of Unite, the country’s largest union, have not had a pay rise since April 2014 and the impact of the industrial action could see production and deliveries being delayed.
The workers voted by 89 per cent for industrial action short of a strike and by 77 per cent for strike action – and decided on the work-to-rule/overtime ban option as ‘a shot across the bows of the bosses’.
Unite regional officer Sean Kettle said: “If this limited industrial action does not bring the management to the negotiating table with a genuine pay offer, this dispute could well escalate into a full-scale strike with increased disruption to production and deliveries of the firm’s premier brands.
“We are seeking a fair reward for the dedicated hard work that our members carry out on a daily basis in Northampton to contribute to Carlsberg’s success.”
Brands brewed at the profitable Northampton plant are San Miquel, Carlsberg Special Brew, Carlsberg Pilsner, Carlsberg Export, Holstein, Skol and Skol Super. The plant also packages Sommersby ciders.
Sean Kettle added: “The reason for this industrial action is a wage freeze which Carlsberg has imposed globally. Because there has been no pay rise this year or any real negotiations, our members feel this could be extended into next year.
“Members feel the pay freeze is being imposed because of the company’s ultimately unsuccessful venture into the Russian market in recent years, which has now been affected by the dramatic fall in the rouble.
“It is worth noting that some sites on the continent have had a pay rise this year as they are in the second year of a two-year pay deal. And finally, trade pub sales in the UK have increased this year.”
“This dispute should be set against the separate issue of the planned closure of the final pension salary scheme in April 2016 and the transfer of 30 per cent of longer-term employees to an inferior scheme.”
The Carlsberg Group is the fourth largest brewer in the world and employs more than 45,000 people with a portfolio of 140 brands.
Notes to editors:
For more information please contact Unite senior communications officer Shaun Noble in the Unite press office on 020 3371 2060 or 07768 693940.
Twitter: @unitetheunion Facebook: unitetheunion1
Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with over 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.