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Pub delivery workers go out on strike

Workers who deliver beer, lager and soft drinks to nearly 30,000 UK pubs, clubs and restaurants have started a 24-hour strike this morning.

(Image credit: Kuehne + Nagel International AG)

The workers at Kuehne + Nagel Drinks Logistics, who are part of the Unite union, have walked out after a dispute over working terms and conditions.

Unite said that the deliveries of Fosters, Heineken, Kronenbourg, John Smith’s, Strongbow, plus Britvic soft drinks will be affected by the 24-hour strike.

The union has also warned that it could step up action while the dispute is not resolved with a continuous ban on overtime as well as a work-to-rule.

Unite national officer, Rhys McCarthy said: “KNDL’s refusal to take our concerns seriously mean there will be significant disruption to the supply of beer right across the country. Whether it’s the Houses of Parliament, Manchester City football club or your local Wetherspoons pub there will be serious consequences.

“We have tried to negotiate with the company but it has stubbornly refused to solve this dispute.

“Our members are proud of their jobs and they know that the present system for delivering beer works and customers are happy.

“The changes being pushed through will not work. They will eventually lead to job losses and will cause enormous problems with deliveries to customers. For drinkers up and down the country, it could even affect the quality of cask conditioned beer. We urge KNDL management to return to the negotiating table.”

In response KN Drinks Logistics told the drinks business: “Kuehne + Nagel continually reviews its warehousing and transport networks in order to ensure that the company provides the most efficient service to its customers. KN Drinks Logistics has been consulting with its employees for a number of years regarding the need to adapt its business model and enhance its service offering to meet the challenges of the declining On Trade drinks market. We have engaged in lengthy consultation with Unite regarding the proposed changes to our secondary distribution network.

“We are currently working closely with our customers … we have contingency plans in place and will seek to minimise disruption to our nationwide deliveries.”

Labour leader Ed Miliband has been warned he should condemn the strike, or risk facing a public backlash. Paul Nuttall MEP, UKIP’s pub spokesman, told the Huffington Post UK: “I am not sure if Unite could have chosen a better way to show how they hold the small pleasures of the people of this country in such contempt.

“Labour must condemn this act, and if it doesn’t then beware the wrath of the ordinary men and women of the country”.

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