UK beer, soft drinks delivery drivers vote to strike

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Friday, August 30, 2013

Workers including drivers for Kuehne and Nagel Drinks Logistics (KNDL) have voted in favour of striking. KNDL, which delivers beer and soft drinks to about 30,000 locations in the UK, was in talks with Unite yesterday to try and resolve the dispute.

Trailers belonging to the firm, from file.
Image: G®iffen.

The vote is a response to a proposed restructuring in which a number of operations currently performed at the firm's 29 distribution centres would be relocated to three new 'super-hubs'. Although no distribution centre closures are currently planned, the union says workers fear future job losses, and are also concerned products will spend more time on the road, spoiling the taste of beer.

A Unite official said "We have tried to engage with the company but they have repeatedly failed to resolve this dispute." A KDNL spokeswoman said "We are committed to continuing dialogue with Unite in order to reach a resolution before any action is taken." She also pointed out Unite is yet to decide dates for the strike; Unite has described "one final chance" to resolve the dispute.

A Unite ballot of 970 KNDL employees produced a turnout of 64% of which 85% voted to strike. The distribution centres involved are mostly in England, but sites in Aberdeen, Dundee, Bathgate, and Inverness in Scotland and Swansea in Wales are also affected.

KNDL delivers high-profile brands including Britvic soft drinks and and Heineken, Kronenbourg, and Fosters beer. Customers include chains Weatherspoons, Enterprise Inns, and Trust Inns, and airports, cinemas, and leisure centres. Even Premier League football clubs are among KNDL's delivery rounds.

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