Lager supplies could run dry this summer after workers at Scottish & Newcastle’s brewery in Reading voted for strike action in a dispute over pay.
Scottish & Newcastle is the UK’s biggest brewer and produces some of the best known beer brands, including Fosters, Kronenbourg and John Smith’s.
About 300 brewery workers belonging to trade union Unite have voted by a margin of nine to one to take industrial action over threats to their pay. Unite said the move follows the company’s decision to cut the link between basic pay and overtime and other enhanced rates.
The union claimed that any industrial action would cause “major problems” as there was no storage capacity at the Reading site.
Mick Pollek, Unite regional industrial organiser, said: “It has been a long-standing agreement that any increase in basic pay has flowed through to all other rates.
“But according to the deal offered this time, the brewery wants to cut the link. That’s what has angered our members to the point that if the company persists in its stand they will strike.”
The company has revealed its half-year profits had risen by 5.5% to £191m, less than forecast after beer sales were hit by wet weather in June.