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Beer lovers could go thirsty this summer as brewery workers strike

Daily Mail logo Daily Mail 21/05/2022 Matthew Lodge For Mailonline

Beer lovers in the UK could go thirsty this summer after union workers at a brewery that produces some of the country's most popular alcoholic drinks voted to go on strike. 

It has been revealed that 225 members of the GMB union who work at Budweiser's factory in Samlesbury, near Preston, will go on strike for the first time in 50 years in a dispute over pay. 

The strike could affect supplies of Budweiser, Stella Artois, Becks, Boddingtons and Export Pale Ale, all of which are produced at the brewery.

This could be a bitter blow to Brits gearing up for a summer of fun, as people look to let loose after two years of summers impacted by Covid restrictions.

Supplies of Budweiser, Stella Artois, Becks, Boddingtons and Export Pale Ale could be affected by the strike (stock image) © Provided by Daily Mail Supplies of Budweiser, Stella Artois, Becks, Boddingtons and Export Pale Ale could be affected by the strike (stock image)

The GMB said members rejected a final offer to increase pay by three per cent for the remainder of the year and for 2023, calling it a 'massive pay cut in real terms'.

As a result more than 200 staff will stop going into work two days a week from June 6.  

Stephen Boden, GMB Organiser, said: 'The last thing these workers want to do is jeopardise beer supplies just as the hot weather kicks in.

'But they've been pushed into this by bosses essentially slashing their wages during a cost of living crisis.

'Do they really except loyal workers to swallow a real terms pay cut?

'Anyone fancying a pint Budweiser, Stella Artois, Becks, Boddingtons or Export Pale Ale strike could go thirsty this summer.

'But it's not too late for bosses to listen to workers and offer a fair deal.'

A spokeswoman for Budweiser Brewing Group told the Sun: 'We are hopeful that through a continued, open dialogue we can still reach a mutually acceptable way forward.  

'The teams have plans in place to minimise the impact on customers and supply.

'Budweiser Brewing Group has a positive and long-standing relationship with the GMB.

'However, despite open and comprehensive negotiations, the GMB has confirmed that industrial action is going ahead at our Samlesbury brewery in June.

The GMB said 225 members will go on strike for two days a week from June 6 as part of a dispute over pay (stock image) © Provided by Daily Mail The GMB said 225 members will go on strike for two days a week from June 6 as part of a dispute over pay (stock image)

'Our people are our greatest strength, and as such we are proud to offer a competitive package – rated in the 90th percentile – with benefits that include private medical cover and bonuses.'

The dispute comes as inflation soared to its highest level in 40 years at nine per cent, with the Bank of England predicting it could go above 10 per cent before the end of the year.

Petrol prices, energy bills and food prices have all risen in recent weeks and are expected to keep rising as the cost-of-living continues to go up.

Experts are warning of 'Stagflation', as the UK economy stalls and teeters towards recession after the pandemic and Ukraine war caused chaos.

Analysts said another interest rate hike next month is now 'inevitable', potentially to 1.25 per cent, as the Bank of England scrambles to stop prices spiralling out of control. But the Pound still dipped further against the US dollar as investors priced in the increasingly grim situation.

Threadneedle Street governor Andrew Bailey infuriated ministers earlier this week when he delivered an extraordinary warning that 'apocalyptic' food price rises are in the pipeline.

He admitted that the Bank is largely 'helpless' to prevent the 'very real income shock' and unemployment will rise.

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