Warning of ‘lager shortage’ if proposed strike action at Livingston-based GXO goes ahead

Unite are warning of a potential lager shortage if proposed strike action goes ahead, with 1,700 potentially going on on strike.

The union is warning pubs nationwide could run dry of lager if 1,700 beer delivery workers employed by GXO vote for strike action. .

The dispute, involving workers in the Livingston branch, as well as branches in Manchester, Derby, Coventry, Thatcham and Normanton, is over longstanding issues with the logistic giant’s payroll system.

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Workers at GXO who deliver lager to more than 20,000 UK hospitality venues but could vote for strike action over claims of delayed payments and underpayments of wages, pension contributions and holiday pay.

There had been suggestions of a lager drought if strike action goes ahead.

Unite claim the issues have stemmed from a new payroll system brought in by GXO could result in a lager ‘drought’ across the country if the workers vote for strike action in the ballot, which opens on 4 March and closes on 18 March.

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Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “Our members at GXO have had enough – they should be paid what they are owed and on time. GXO’s new payroll system has caused real hardship for our members, throwing finances into chaos with late payments and underpayments.

“GXO’s response to this has been completely unacceptable and our members, whose jobs, pay and conditions are this union’s top priority, will receive Unite’s complete support if they vote for strike action.”

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A consultative ballot by Unite held late last year over whether its members at GXO, formerly known as XPO, wanted to proceed to a full-scale industrial action ballot, with the option to strike, returned a 99 per cent majority in favour.

Unite national officer for food, drink and agriculture, Joe Clarke, said: “Through its actions, GXO is in danger of creating a nationwide lager drought just as the hospitality industry is recovering from the pandemic.

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“GXO can prevent this dispute from escalating by tabling a solution that resolves our members’ concerns and sees them promptly paid what they are owed.”

A GXO spokesperson said: “We are committed to being an employer of choice for our employees and our customers.

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"Discussions are ongoing in order to reach agreement with all parties involved.”