Summer beer draught: Supplies of Stella Artois, Budweiser and Becks threatened by strike at Preston brewery

Beer supplies could be threatened this summer after brewery workers went on a series of summer strikes following a pay dispute, unions say.

A total of 225 workers at Budweiser Brewing Group’s Samlesbury site, near Preston, have downed tools in a row over wages.

It is the first time workers at the site, which brews Budweiser, Stella Artois, Becks, Boddingtons and Export Pale Ale, have gone on strike in its 50 year history.

The first day of action took place on Thursday, with further days set this months still be announced.

Budweiser workers in Preston have announced a series of summer strikes following a pay dispute.

The company tabled a full and final offer of three per cent increase for 2022 and three per cent for 2023 with increases in overtime rates.

However the union says that, with the cost-of-living crises, the offer amounts to a pay cut in real terms.

Union chiefs say beer supplies could be affected although the company says it will attempt to mitigate supply issues.

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225 GMB members are striking, in the first industrial action at the site for 50 years.

Stephen Boden, GMB Organiser, 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.

“Do they really except loyal workers to swallow a real terms pay cut?

“Anyone fancying a pint Budweiser, Stella Artois, Becks, Boddingtons or Export Pale Ale strike could go thirsty this summer.

The BBG say there are plans in place to minimise the impact on customers.

“But it’s not too late for bosses to listen to workers and offer a fair deal.”

A spokesperson from BBG said: “Budweiser Brewing Group has a positive and long-standing relationship with the GMB, however despite open and comprehensive negotiations, the GMB have confirmed that industrial action is going ahead at our Samlesbury brewery in June.

"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 teams have plans in place to minimise the impact on customers and supply.”