Budweiser brewery staff near Preston to resume strike action after pay talks fail

Lancashire brewers at the Budweiser factory near Preston are set to resume strikes after pay talks collapsed.

By Tim Gavell
Friday, 1st July 2022, 3:14 pm
Updated Friday, 1st July 2022, 3:15 pm

Some 225 GMB members at the brewery have been taking part in the ongoing action, with warnings that the industrial action could lead to shortages of Budweiser, Stella Artois, Becks, Boddingtons and Export Pale Ale, which are all brewed at the Samlesbury site.

Workers have already walked out several times in June over the pay dispute.

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Staff at the AB Inbev Brewery at Samlesbury which produces Budweiser are set to resume strike action after pay talks collapsed

Management called GMB officials to meet to discuss next steps in the wage negotiation – but union officials said that instead of meaningful engagement to resolve the dispute, they proposed GMB should recommend the existing offer of three per cent, which amounts to a real terms pay cut amid the current cost of living crisis.

The union also said that bosses also threatened workers that they wouldn’t be able to claim back pay if the deal was not agreed by July 21.

Stephen Boden, GMB Organiser, said: “We will not be intimidated by their bully boy tactics.

‘’It’s disgraceful they would threaten to take money out of workers' pockets during a cost-of-living crisis.

AB Inbev Brewery at Samlesbury

‘‘Therefore, we will be going ahead with a 36 hour walk out starting Saturday, July 16 at 7pm until Monday, July 18 at 7am - with a further 12 hour stoppage on Tuesday, July 19.

“They continue to ignore workers and put profit before people with this derisory pay offer. Workers are rightly angry.

“But it’s not too late for management to listen to workers and get back round the table with us to work out a fair deal.”

A spokesman from the Budweiser Brewing Group said: “Budweiser Brewing Group has a positive and long-standing relationship with the GMB, however despite open negotiations, the GMB have confirmed that there will be additional dates for industrial action at our Samlesbury brewery.

“Our people are our greatest strength, and as such we are proud to offer a competitive package – wages in the Brewery are in the top 10 per cent for the region and a range of benefits are provided including private medical cover, wellbeing allowance, access to the Verhelst Foundation to support physical and mental wellbeing, a ‘perks at work’ programme, product vouchers, opportunities for scholarship funds 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. 

“The teams have implemented plans to ensure that supply has not been interrupted, and we will continue to minimise the impact to customers and consumers.

“While we have not yet reached an agreement, we continue to work toward a mutually acceptable solution.”