Deliveries of John Smith’s, Strongbow, Britvic soft drinks, Heineken, Kronenbourg and Fosters could face ‘severe disruption’ as a result of strike action, Unite has warned, amid a row over planned restructuring at Kuehne + Nagel Drinks logistics.
The logistics group, which supplies Enterprise Inns, Trust Inns, Wetherspoons, Wells and Young’s, as well as a host of hospitality sites and airports, 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.
“Our members feel this restructuring will not work because it will increase disruption to suppliers and beer will have to spend more time on the road [travelling in between the super-hubs and depots], and beer does not travel well,” said Unite spokesman Ciaran Naidoo.
“They also fear it will eventually lead to job losses if they find they do not need as many staff.”
Urgent talks are taking place today to settle the dispute, but if talks fall through, dates for industrial action will be announced.
Unite national officer Rhys McCarthy said: “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 the nation’s favourite beers and soft drinks.”
A spokeswoman for Kuehne + Nagel said: “KN Drinks Logistics confirms that representatives of the Unite Union have informed us that the outcome of the ballot is a vote in favour of strike action.
“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.”