Bank holiday beer shortage looms in Sheffield as delivery drivers vote to strike

Pubs and restaurants in Sheffield could face a shortage of beer over the August bank holiday weekend after delivery drivers voted to go on strike.

Wednesday, 11th August 2021, 5:54 pm

Unite the union said about 1,000 ‘draymen’ based at 26 sites responsible for 40 per cent of deliveries to pubs and other hospitality venues had voted for industrial action over a ‘paltry’ pay offer.

There will be two 24-hour strikes, on Tuesday August 24 and Thursday September 2, accompanied by an overtime ban and work to rule from August 24 to November 15.

Unite national officer for the drinks industry Joe Clarke said: “The threat of a late summer beer drought now increases for Britain’s thirsty beer drinkers as our members make 40 per cent of the beer deliveries in the country. This disruption would be on top of the ‘pingdemic’ and the well-publicised HGV driver shortages that are already hitting the sector.”

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A bartender pouring beer from tap.

Unite says members, employed by GXO Logistics Drinks Ltd (previously XPO Logistics Drinks Ltd), voted to strike over the company’s offer of a 1.4 per cent pay rise for 2021.

They were already angry due to losing between £8,000 and £10,000 over the last year due to furlough and lack of overtime, coupled with no pay increase for 2020, the union says.

Mr Clarke added: “The draymen have been working flat out currently to meet the high demand for beer volumes in our pubs as society continues to reopen.”

A spokesperson for GXO said: "We favour dialogue in all our negotiations. Discussions are ongoing in order to reach agreement, in particular for the hospitality sector that is only now emerging from the impact of the Covid-19 lockdown.”

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Thank you. Nancy Fielder, editor.