Fears of Christmas booze shortage as workers at Lancashire brewery go on strike

GMB union says pay rise offer 'amounts to a pay cut'. Credit: Google streetmaps

Hundreds of workers at the Budweiser brewery in Salmesbury in Lancashire have gone on strike as part of a long running row over pay.

The plant brews Budweiser, Stella Artois, Becks, Boddingtons and Export Pale Ale.

Staff will remain on strike until 7am on Saturday 22 October after talks between the GMB union, the company and conciliation service ACAS collapsed last week when bosses upped their offer by £250 for 2023.

Stephen Boden, GMB Organiser, said: "We're in the worst cost of living crush for a generation.

"The offer of an extra £250 for the year won't even touch the sides. Frankly, it's insulting.

"In desperation, GMB members are now on strike until Saturday. The whole plant will be affected and Budweiser are risking a Christmas beer drought.

"We call on Budweiser bosses to end this strike but getting round the table and making a pay offer to help workers keep a roof over their heads."

GMB union members striking at the brewery in August 2022 Credit: GMB union

A spokesperson from Budweiser Brewing Group said it is disappointed at the GMB union confirming continued action at the brewery near Preston, but does not anticipate any beer shortages.

A spokesperson said: "Wages in the Brewery are in the top 10% for the region and a range of benefits are provided including private medical cover, wellbeing allowance, product vouchers, opportunities for scholarship funds and bonuses. "We’ve made significant investments in Salmesbury which have resulted in further innovation and automation, additional skills development, promotions and many new job opportunities.

"We do not expect any beer shortages. We have implemented plans to ensure that supply has not been interrupted, including enhanced logistics measures and cooperation with transport partners to minimise the impact to customers and consumers."

The company also says it will "continue to work towards a solution".