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Pubs could face beer shortages during the World Cup because of brewery strikes

The delivery-driver walkouts will also affect the Christmas period

Written by
Faima Bakar
Ellie Muir

What’s a World Cup without having some beer splashed on you when your team scores a goal? This year, the chances of that happening may be slimmer, as beer delivery drivers are taking part in strike action that could affect Christmas and the global football tournament in November. 

Around a thousand GXO dray workers – who deliver beer for breweries and handle around 40 percent of beer deliveries to UK pubs and venues – plan to stage the first round of strikes between October 31 and November 4 at depots across the country.

The reasons for the walkouts include a pay rise offer of just 5 percent. The Unite union have said this is more of a pay cut, considering it’s below the rate of inflation and reduces sick pay. 

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: ‘GXO can well afford to pay our members a pay rise that reflects rising living costs. The current offer it has put forward goes nowhere near that reasonable demand. Unite will support our GXO members every step of the way in their fight for a fair pay rise. GXO needs to come back with a much-improved deal.’

Some of the breweries affected by the strike action include Heineken, Stonegate, Admiral Taverns and Shepherd Neame, according to The CatererGXO Logistics delivers to about 4,500 pubs in London and south-east England and has a network of 22 depots from Inverness to Southampton where strike action will take place. The company, however, said it had plans in place to ensure pubs and venues did not run dry if strikes disrupted its regular schedule of deliveries. So, football fans could be in the clear, after all.

A GXO spokesperson said: ‘We believe our proposal is very fair and follows an above-inflation annual pay raise last year. When combined, the overall increase is in line with the industry average. We remain committed to maintaining an open dialogue with our employees and their representatives at all times.’

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