Major restaurant brands face food shortages as Best Food workers vote to strike

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

Major restaurant brands including KFC, Burger King and Wagamama face food shortages as Bestfood workers vote to strike

Related tags Gmb trade union Industrial action Strike action Trade union Bestfood

Almost 400 workers working for food logistics company Best Food, which delivers to the likes of KFC, Burger King and Wagamama, will strike having rejected the company’s latest pay offer.

The GMB Union said a majority of 76% of those who voted were in favour of industrial action and that Best Food drivers will announce strike dates imminently.

It comes after the workers, who also deliver fresh food to the likes of Pizza Express, Pizza Hut and Zizzi, turned down a 6% pay increase offer last month, which the union previously said would amount to a real terms pay cut​.

The GMB has claimed that Best Food’s parent companies, Booker and Tesco, are making 'serious money' while leaving workers crushed by rising inflation.

“Shareholders are [pocketing] large dividends, while the people who do the graft are struggling to make ends meet,” said Nadine Houghton, GMB national officer. 

“All these workers want is a pay deal that protects them from this crushing cost of living crisis.

“Now, some of the best know restaurants on the UK’s high streets will face shortages over Christmas.”

In a statement, Best Food Logistics says it is committed to a constructive dialogue with its colleagues and GMB to reach a way forward.

A Best Food Logistics spokesperson said: “Best Food Logistics provides colleagues with a competitive and comprehensive reward package.

“We will be working closely with our customers to ensure they can continue to get the products they need and remain actively engaged with GMB to reach a positive outcome for our colleagues and customers.”

Elsewhere, 188 brewery workers represented by the Unite union have also voted for strikes.

The brewery workers, based in Bury St Edmunds, Eastwood in Nottinghamshire, and Abingdon in Oxfordshire, brew and distribute beverages for Greene King. They will take five days of strike action, beginning 5 December.

Greene King had offered workers a 3% pay rise and a one-off payment of £650.

 “We are disappointed the union has encouraged its members to reject our pay offer, as well as a number of other benefits, and pursue this course of action,” a Greene King spokesperson said.

“Our pay rise offer is fair and consistent across the business, especially given the challenging wider economic environment. We have full contingency plans in place to minimise disruption and we will be working closely with our customers to communicate and implement these in the coming days.”

Sharon Graham, Unite general secretary, argued that Green King's failure to offer workers a decent pay rise is all about greed and not about need.

“Unite, which is now entirely focused on defending the jobs, pay and conditions of its members, will not idly stand by while a wealthy company tries to further boost its profits by subjecting its workers to substantial real-terms pay cuts,” she added.

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