A major union walkout could put more pressure on struggling U.K. pubs—already financially squeezed by super-high energy prices.
- Roughly 1,000 employees in the U.K.-based Unite labor union are planning a walkout against GXO Logistics Inc., a major supply-chain company, due to a pay dispute.
- “The first round of strikes will take place between October 31 and November 4 at depots across the U.K., with more scheduled if the dispute is not resolved. The strikes will impede the ability of pubs and other venues to replenish their cellars prior to the World Cup, which begins on November 20,” says Unite.
- “The workers have rejected a 5% offer, well below the 12.3% real inflation rate, but it also comes with strings as the employer is demanding a reduction in sick pay,” it continues.
- “Once again, a company that is making hundreds of millions in profits is asking workers to take a pay cut. And GXO goes even further. They want to cut sick pay too. This is a shocking way to treat your workforce,” says Unite general secretary Sharon Graham.
- The delivery strike could impede as much as 40% of the beer supply in the U.K. unless the dispute is resolved.
Why it’s important
The strike is strategically aimed at hitting major breweries like Heineken, Stonegate, Admiral Taverns, and Shepherd Neame in the midst of major sports events but the side effects could harm smaller businesses more.
It may place more pressure on businesses that are already in danger of closing this winter.
As we previously reported, British pubs are under threat due to the ongoing energy crisis. Much like thousands of European businesses, some of Britain’s historic pubs may not survive the ongoing energy crisis due to 500% to 600% energy cost increases.
“GXO said … that it has business continuity plans in place to ensure customers are adequately stocked and to minimize the impact on consumers,” says Bloomberg.
Major breweries and GXO are likely to walk away from the strike unscathed once the dispute is settled but smaller businesses are more likely to suffer the combined effects of inflation, energy costs, and limited supplies. The union placed the cost of the strike directly on GXO for limiting overtime and pay raises.
“Any disruption to the U.K.’s beer supplies is entirely the result of GXO’s greed. It must return to the negotiating table with an offer our members can accept,” says Unite.