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World Cup beer shortage fears as delivery workers at depots in Swansea and Anglesey go on strike

18 Oct 2022 3 minute read
Beer photo by Louis Hansel @shotsoflouis on Unsplash. Wales’ Gareth Bale celebrates after qualifying for the Qatar World Cup. Picture by David Davies / PA Wire.

There could be a shortage of beer during the World Cup after delivery workers at depots in Swansea and Anglesey said that they would go on strike.

GXO drivers who make around 40 per cent of beer deliveries within the nations of the UK will take strike action over pay during the run up to the World Cup, Unite, the UK’s leading union, said today.

Industrial action will take place at Swansea and Anglesey, as well as 20 other depots across the UK.

The first round of strikes will take place between 31 October and 4 November at depots across the UK, with more scheduled if the dispute is not resolved. The strikes will impede the ability of pubs and other venues to replenish their cellars prior to the World Cup, which begins on 20 November, Unison said.

The workers have rejected a five per cent offer, well below the 12.3 per cent real inflation rate, but it also comes with strings as the employer is demanding a reduction in sick pay.

In August, GXO reported that its UK operations brought in revenues of £687 million during the three months between April and June alone and boosted its profits forecast.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “Once again, a company that is making hundreds of millions in profits is asking workers to take a pay cut. And GXO goes even further. They want to cut sick pay too. This is a shocking way to treat your workforce.

“GXO can easily afford to pay fairly and Unite is determined to see that they do. Our members have the union’s absolute support in taking strike action for a fair pay rise.”


The strikes are set to impact beer supplies to pubs and venues supplied by major breweries, including Heineken, Stonegate, Admiral Taverns and Shepherd Neame.

Unite national officer for food, drink and agriculture, Joe Clarke, said: “GXO has left our members with no choice. This is a company making millions upon millions but asking its workers to take a pay cut during a cost of living crisis.

“Any disruption to the UK’s beer supplies is entirely the result of GXO’s greed. It must return to the negotiating table with an offer our members can accept.”

A spokesperson for GXO told Reuters that the U.S.-based logistics company’s offer was “significantly above” 5% and did not impact sick pay.

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