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A union representative warned that Brits could face going ‘thirsty this summer’ after confirming that employees at the Budweiser factory will walk off their jobs over concerns about money.
The GMB union has since announced a number of walkouts at the main Budweiser factory in Samlesbury near Preston, where beers such as Bud, Stella Artois, Boddingtons, and Becks are all brewed.
This news comes at the start of a summer that is expected to be full of festivals, sporting events, and celebrations – starting with an extra bank holiday because of Queen Elizabeth’s Platinum Jubilee.
However, stocks of those popular beers might run low as the workers at the factory are complaining they’re getting a real terms pay cut as a pay increase they’ve been offered falls way below inflation.
GMB representative Stephen Boden said: “The last thing these workers want to do is jeopardise beer supplies just as the hot weather kicks in.
“But they’ve been pushed into this by bosses essentially slashing their wages during a cost-of-living crisis.”
He added: “Anyone fancying a pint of Budweiser, Stella Artois, Becks, Boddingtons or Export Pale Ale could go thirsty this summer.”
200 staff at the Lancashire brewing site are set to reduce production dramatically by walking out for two days every week starting on 6 June.
That’s because they’ve been offered a pay increase of just three percent for 2022 and 2023, while the cost-of-living crisis continues and inflation continues to rise.
The union bosses say that the modest increase ‘amounts to a massive pay cut in real terms’ because of the aforementioned cost-of-living crisis and inflation hitting 11.1 percent.
The Budweiser Brewing Group says it is hoping to find a ‘mutually acceptable’ solution to the problem, which would see workers happy and production at usual levels for the time of year.
A spokesperson for the group said that they ‘have plans in place to minimise the impact on customers and supply.’
Their full statement read: "Our people are our greatest strength, and as such we are proud to offer a competitive package – rated in the 90th percentile – 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.
"We are hopeful that through a continued open dialogue we can still reach a mutually acceptable way forward."
The price of beer could also be set to rise as another consequence of the cost-of-living crisis.
Marston’s Brewery, one of the UK’s largest pub owners and owner of six breweries, has already announced a price increase of between 20p and 45p on their beer.
That could push the price of a pint about £4.00 for the first time in some areas.
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