Almost 200 Carlsberg workers in Northampton to take industrial action

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Workers at the Carlsberg brewery in Bridge Street will work to rule and refuse overtime from this week because of a pay freeze.

Carlsberg said 190 people will take part in the action, which is being organised by the Unite union, from Thursday onwards.

Engineers, brewers, processers and packers will be taking part in a continuous ban on overtime and work-to-rule.

Unite regional officer Sean Kettle said if the action does not bring mangers to the negotiating table “with a genuine pay offer”, there could be a full-scale strike.

Although Carlsberg said there was a plan in place, the union insisted there would be disruption to local deliveries.

Mr Kettle said: “We are seeking a fair reward for the dedicated hard work that our members carry out on a daily basis in Northampton to contribute to Carlsberg’s success.

“The reason for this industrial action is a wage freeze which Carlsberg has imposed globally.

“Because there has been no pay rise this year or any real negotiations, our members feel this could be extended into next year.

He added: “Members feel the pay freeze is being imposed because of the company’s ultimately unsuccessful venture into the Russian market in recent years.”

Brands brewed at the profitable Northampton plant are San Miquel, Carlsberg Special Brew, Carlsberg Pilsner, Carlsberg Export, Holstein, Skol and Skol

Super. The plant also packages Sommersby ciders.

Sales in Western Europe remain strong, but the Russian market has been a problem for Carlsberg since it took over the country’s top brand in 2008.

Since then, stricter regulations in Russia, plus higher taxes and a declining economy because of Western sanctions has taken its toll on Carlsberg’s overall profits.

A spokesman for Carlsberg UK said: “As a result of macro-economic circumstances in Russia and Ukraine, and difficult trading conditions in the UK, in order to protect the long-term future of the business, a group-wide pay freeze was announced at the beginning of 2015, which affects all of our colleagues in the UK.

“We have discussed this decision in detail with our colleagues and unfortunately are yet to reach a resolution with our brewery representatives.

“This has resulted in the decision that has been taken by our brewery colleagues. A plan is in place to ensure any potential disruption to supply will be kept to a minimum.

“We remain open to on-going dialogue in order to resolve this matter quickly, in a manner that ensures the long-term future of the UK operation.”

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