Brewery workers facing real terms pay cut

Beer drinkers are facing shortages this festive season as workers at brewers Greene King have announced strike action following a pitiful pay offer.

The 188 workers who are members of Unite, the UK’s leading union, are based at Bury St Edmunds, Eastwood (Nottinghamshire) and Abingdon (Oxfordshire). The workers brew and distribute Greene King’s products including IPA, Old Speckled Hen and Abbot Ale.

The workers will be taking an initial five days of strike action beginning on Monday 5 December.

The workers voted for strike action after Greene King only offered them a three per cent pay increase and a further one-off payment of £650. With the real inflation rate (RPI) currently standing at 14.2 per cent, this amounts to a very substantial real terms wage cut.

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.”

Since 2019 Greene King has been owned by Hong Kong based property company CK Asset Holdings. CK Asset Holdings is part of the CK HUTCHISON Group, which is owned by one of the world’s richest men, Li-Ka Shing. According to the influential Forbes business magazine, Li-Ka Shing is worth $35 billion. Unite research shows that CK Hutchison are the parent company of one of the UK’s biggest water companies and Felixstowe Ports.

Unite regional officer Mark Jaina said: “The strike action will inevitably result in drinkers being denied their favourite tipple this Christmas but this dispute is entirely of Greene King’s own making. It has had every chance to make a fair pay offer but has refused to do so.

“Greene King needs to stop wringing its hands and make our members a decent pay offer.”


For media enquiries ONLY please contact Unite senior communications officer Barckley Sumner on 07802 329235 or 0203 371 2067.

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Unite is the UK and Ireland’s leading union fighting to protect and advance jobs, pay and conditions for members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Sharon Graham.