Hundreds of Budweiser employees in the United Kingdom could go on strike, threatening to create a shortage of some of the country’s most popular beers.
The UK staff of the world’s biggest brewer have refused to accept the company’s new pay package. According to GMB Union, the offer from the Budweiser Brewing group, the UK arm of Anheuser-Busch InBev
(BUD), was a 3% increase for 2022 and 3% for 2023 with increases in overtime rates. But with UK inflation hitting 9%, the union says the pay raises will actually amount to an overall pay cut for the workers.
A total of 225 GMB members working at BBG’s Samlesbury site have voted for industrial action, a precursor to a potential strike. For the first time, members supported full strike action.
“Workers are rightly angry and if this strike goes the distance Budweiser could face a summer beer drought,” GMB Organiser Stephen Boden said in a statement. The BBG site produces an array of beers such as Budweiser, Stella Artois, Becks, Boddingtons and Export Pale Ale.
A spokesperson from BBG told CNN in a statement that the company is offering a competitive package “in the 90th percentile for total compensation – with benefits that include private medical cover and bonuses.”
“We’ve made significant investments in Samlesbury which have resulted in further innovation and automation, additional skills development, promotions and many new job opportunities. Over recent years we have increased our headcount by over 65,” the spokeperson added.
BBG and GMB have had a “positive and long-standing relationship” and have been in negotiation for months claiming their staff are their “greatest strength,” the spokeperson said. “We are hopeful that through a continued open dialogue we can still reach a mutually acceptable way forward which will avoid industrial action.”
BBG also stated the company has plans in place to minimize the impact on customers.