13:24 Monday 02 September 2013

Beer shortage fears over strike action

Written byHELEN KREFT

BEER pumps are at risk of running dry in parts of Burton and South Derbyshire as talks continue over possible strike action over deliveries.

Crucial talks to avoid severe disruption to the deliveries of Fosters, Heineken, Kronenbourg, John Smith’s, Strongbow plus Britvic soft drinks, to almost 30,000 pubs across the UK are continuing after workers for KNDL (Kuehne + Nagel Drinks Logistics) overwhelmingly voted for strike action.

Pubs and premises run by Enterprise Inns, Trust Inns, Wetherspoons, and Wells and Young’s would be badly affected. The company also supplies airports, courts, sports clubs, including Premiership football clubs, recreational centres, theatres and cinemas, health clubs, military camps, working men’s clubs and the hospitality industry.

It is not yet clear how Wetherspoons, which owns The Lord Burton, in High Street, Burton, and the Sir Nigel Gresley, in The Delph, Swadlincote, will be affected if the strike goes ahead and if a plan of action is in the place. The company told the Mail it did not wish to comment.

KNDL plans to move its stock from 29 depots to three super hubs for distribution. But staff members fear that while the 29 depots will remain open, the move could eventually lead to significant job losses.

Unite told the Mail that depots in Draycott-in-the-Clay and Foston have not been balloted and will not be affected.

Rhys McCarthy, Unite national officer, said: “The changes being pushed through will not work. They will eventually lead to job losses and will cause enormous problems in delivering to customers. For drinkers up and down the country it could even affect the quality of the beer.

“We have tried to engage with the company but it has repeatedly refused to resolve this dispute. The company now has a final chance otherwise the union will be forced to name dates for action which could seriously disrupt the supplies of beers and soft drinks.”

A spokesman for Kuehne, said: “At this stage there is no planned action, we are committed to continuing dialogue with unite in order to reach a resolution before any action is taken.”

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