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Tue 14th Jan 2020 - Greene King ‘confident’ proposed Unite strike action will have ‘little impact’ on pub deliveries
Greene King ‘confident’ proposed Unite strike action will have ‘little impact’ on pub deliveries: Brewer and retailer Greene King has said it is confident a threat by Unite members in its brewing division to potentially strike this year will have little impact on its deliveries to pubs. A ballot held by the union, which represents fewer than 170 people across three out of Greene King’s 15 drinks distribution depots – in Bury St Edmunds, Eastwood and Abingdon – has voted in favour of industrial action. A Greene King spokesperson said: “We remain disappointed Unite has encouraged its members to reject our offer of a 2% pay rise for its members, as well as a number of other benefits, and pursue this course of action. Our pay rise offer is fair and consistent across the brewing division, especially given the challenging wider economic environment. We would like to reassure all our customers that only three out of 15 delivery depots would potentially be impacted by any strike action – Bury St Edmunds, Eastwood and Abingdon – and Unite members account for fewer than 170 people out of 800 in our brewery workforce. This means we will still have a majority of non-Unite members working and we have drawn up full contingency plans to ensure there is minimal disruption to our customers.” Unite has until mid-July to carry out any strike action and must give Greene King two weeks’ notice before doing so.

Urban Pubs and Bars acquires Bar Kick in Shoreditch: Urban Pubs and Bars, led by Nick Pring and Malcolm Heap, has added a 19th site to its portfolio. The company has acquired Bar Kick in Shoreditch High Street in a deal brokered by Restaurant Property, which acted for Bar Kick on the 4,053 square foot unit with a lease that runs until 2041 at an annual rent of £142,500. The venue is known for showing a variety of sport from across the globe as well as for its table football offering. It also serves an eclectic range of continental beer and food dishes. Bar Kick will continue to trade under its current format and last month it was featured by Lonely Planet as one of the “world’s most iconic sports bars”. Heap said: “The addition of Bar Kick continues to make the Urban Pubs and Bars portfolio one of the most diverse within the on-trade and sets the tone of our intent for 2020, as we look to expand the company with exciting concepts to drive continued growth for the year ahead. We can’t wait to get cracking. With a jam-packed sporting calendar, we’re dedicated to continue making Bar Kick the destination for sport fanatics and with the Super Bowl just around the corner and of course the Euros, it’s a fantastic venue that will truly bring these events to life for the customer and create an experience like no other.” Last month, Urban Pubs and bars put its Well Street Pizza outlet in Peckham on the market after the site “did not meet expectations”.

Babbity Bowster acquired by Caledonian Heritable: A well-known pub in Glasgow’s Merchant City has changed hands for the first time in more than three decades. Babbity Bowster, based on Blackfriars Street, has been acquired by Caledonian Heritable, the company whose outlets include The Dome and Ryan’s Bar in Edinburgh. Its sale comes after it was named UK Town Pub of the Year in the Good Pub Guide Awards, which described it as a “Glasgow institution”. Edinburgh-based Caledonian Heritable is owned by the leisure industry entrepreneur Kevin Doyle, and also owns the Archerfield golf resort, in East Lothian. The deal to acquire Babbity Bowster was brokered by Bruce & Co The value was not disclosed.

Government urged to rethink tax and benefit rules over Greggs tax-trap: The government has been urged to rethink its tax and benefit rules for low-paid workers after it emerged that some staff at the bakery chain Greggs could get to keep just a quarter of their £300 annual bonus as a result of universal credit deductions. Greggs announced last week that its 25,000 workers would receive a windfall of up to £300 under a £7m reward scheme linked in part to the success of the company’s vegan sausage rolls. However, benefits experts have pointed out that some staff who are on universal credit will keep as little as £75 after tax and national insurance (NI) are paid and bonus earnings clawed back by the government at a rate of 63p in the pound. Benefits consultant Gareth Morgan told The Guardian the clawing back of the bonuses through universal credit meant that the government might ultimately be one of the biggest beneficiaries of the Greggs reward scheme. Morgan calculated that under current tax and benefit rules, a worker earning less than the tax and NI thresholds of £8,632 a year would typically be left with £111 of the £300 bonus. One earning more than that but less than the upper threshold of £12,500 a year would get just £97.68 while a worker on more than £12,500 a year would end up with £75.48. Torsten Bell, the chief executive of the Resolution Foundation thinktank, said: “While workers on universal credit could lose up to £225 of their £300 cash bonus, that is an argument for the government to lower the taper rate in universal credit, rather than for employers to stop paying their staff more.”

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