Unite urges KNDL to get serious or face further strikes

Unite urges KNDL to get serious or face further strikes

10 September 2013

Unite, Britain's biggest union, has warned of further strike action at KNDL (Kuehne + Nagel Drinks Logistics) as workers prepare to take 24-hour strike action tomorrow (Wednesday 11 September) meaning significant disruption to almost 30,000 drinking establishments across the UK.

The deliveries of Fosters, Heineken, Kronenbourg, John Smith’s, Strongbow, plus Britvic soft drinks will be affected as workers prepare to strike for 24 hours from 10.00am on Wednesday 11 September to 10.00am on Thursday 12 September. There will also be a continuous ban on overtime and a work-to-rule. 

The depots affected include: Aberdeen; Bathgate (West Lothian); Birmingham; Bristol; Chandlers Ford (Hampshire); Carlisle; Croydon; Dagenham; Devizes (Wiltshire); Dundee; Faversham (Kent); Greenford (Middlesex); Inverness; Liverpool; Manchester; Newark (Nottinghamshire); Northampton; Norwich; Plymouth; Preston; Reading; Stockton-on-Tees (Cleveland); Swansea; Wakefield; Warrington; Washington (Tyne and Wear); and Welwyn Garden City.

Pubs and premises run by Enterprise Inns, Trust Inns, Wetherspoons, and Wells and Young’s will be badly affected. The company also supplies airports, courts, sports clubs, including Premiership football clubs, recreational centres, theatres and cinemas, health clubs, military camps, working men’s clubs and the hospitality industry (see notes to editors for details).

The issue at the centre of the dispute is the way the company has breached the National Ways Agreement which governs the terms and conditions of the workforce. The workers believe the changes being proposed will lead to significant job losses. 

In a restructuring exercise called the Beethoven Project, KNDL wants to introduce three super hubs at Livingstone (West Lothian), Thatcham, near Newbury, and Wakefield from which beer, cider, lager and soft drinks will then be distributed to the above depots.

Unite national officer, Rhys McCarthy said: "KNDL's refusal to take our concerns seriously mean there will be significant disruption to the supply of beer right across the country. Unite can not rule out further action if the company continues to drive through change without properly negotiating or assessing the impact these changes are having. 

"Our members are already bearing the brunt of complaints from customers because of the company's changes.  They are proud of their jobs and they know that the previous system for delivering beer worked and customers were happy.

"The changes being pushed through will not work. They will eventually lead to job losses and will cause enormous problems with deliveries to customers.  Hopefully when we next meet to try and resolve this dispute KNDL management will begin to negotiate seriously with Unite." 

Unite said that the downsides to this proposal include:

  • Supplies could be delayed by accidents/disruptions on the motorways 
  • Cask conditioned beer could be unsettled by the long journeys 
  • It is environmentally unfriendly, necessitating more HGV journeys on already overcrowded roads 
  • KNDL will be spending considerably more on diesel each year as a result of travelling massively increased distances  
  • It increases the chances that publicans will not receive the deliveries they have ordered at the time they wanted 
  • There are already cases of publicans being highly dissatisfied with this service 
  • It removes flexibility and speed of response to demands that the local depots currently provide


A question and answer briefing on the dispute is available on request from the press office. The union will have pickets at depots up and down the country.  


  • Ciaran Naidoo on 07768 931 315 for national enquiries
  • Alison Spencer-Scragg on 07717 787 358 for the North West 
  • Simon Coop on 07817 104 253 for Yorkshire and Humberside
  • Mark Sanderson on 07718 666 524 for the North East
  • Peter Storey on 07958 511 573 for London and Eastern
  • Sean Kettle on 07718 666 738 for East Midlands
  • Matt Tipper on 07808 783 102 for Wales, West Midlands and the South West
  • James O'Connell on 07568 109 586 for Scotland 

Notes to editors: 

Drinking establishments which could be affected by the strike include:

  • Government: Houses of Parliament; Downing Street; Home Office.
  • Mainline train stations: Kings Cross ; Euston; Manchester Piccadilly; Manchester Victoria; Manchester Crown Court 
  • Airports: Heathrow; Gatwick; Stansted; Luton; Manchester; Liverpool John Lennon
  • Football clubs: Manchester City; Arsenal; Sunderland; Blackburn Rovers; QPR; Charlton; Manchester United training ground
  • Race courses:  Ascot; Haydock; York; Aintree; Doncaster
  • Unite is Britain and Ireland's largest trade union with 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.