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Unite union warns of beer shortages if Greene King strike stops deliveries to Bishop's Stortford pub Harvest Moon

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A union is warning of beer shortages at a Bishop’s Stortford pub as brewery workers prepare to strike.

Staff at Greene King have announced a rolling programme of industrial action from March to July as part of a pay dispute.

The company owns 3,000 pubs, including the newly-refurbished Harvest Moon in Friedberg Avenue, Thorley Park.

Greene King's Harvest Moon pub in Bishop’s Stortford (30296310)
Greene King's Harvest Moon pub in Bishop’s Stortford (30296310)

Chef & Brewer, a chain of around 127 licensed traditional pub restaurants owned by Greene King subsidiary the Spirit Pub Company, operates the Three Horseshoes in Spellbrook.

Unite, Britain and Ireland’s largest union, has announced the first two days of action on March 12 and 13. The strike will involve 160 delivery drivers, draymen, brewery production staff and warehouse workers at Bury St Edmunds, the firm’s Suffolk headquarters, and distribution centres in Abingdon, Oxfordshire, and in Eastwood, Nottinghamshire.

The workforce, employed by the brewing and brands department, voted overwhelmingly in January for strike action in protest at 2% pay rises. The 12 other dates for strike action will not be announced until 14 days beforehand, as required by law.

The strike comes after the £4.6bn takeover last August of Greene King by CK Asset Holdings.

Unite regional officer Mark Jaina said: “These pay negotiations have dragged on for months, with a hard-line management being blinkered as to the ever-rising cost of living that our members have endured for several years.

“We're planning a rolling schedule of strikes into the summer which should send a strong message to the bosses that our members are serious about rectifying this pay injustice.

“This strike could lead to severe disruption in supplies to pubs, clubs and restaurants, and some drinkers could face a beer drought as a result.

“The relatively new owners of Greene King – CK Asset Holdings – can’t be happy at the reputational damage that strike action will cause to customers so soon after taking control of one of the UK’s premier hospitality and beer brands.

“However, there is a window of opportunity before the first strikes and we urge the management to take this opportunity for them to get around the table and negotiate in a constructive fashion to resolve this dispute.”

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