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Greene King has paid tribute to its brewing and distribution teams and said their hard work had helped cancel out any impact from a pay dispute among union workers, which has now escalated into strike action.

Three days of industrial action commenced on 21 December and a further four days are scheduled to begin on 28 December, according to Unite.

The union said Greene King had refused to offer “a fair pay increase in the midst of a cost of living crisis” and so staff would down tools, affecting supplies of beers including IPA, Old Speckled Hen and Abbot Ale to pubs, restaurants and shops.

However, Greene King said supermarkets and shops had not been affected and any industrial action in January would be unlikely to have a significant impact.

A Greene King spokeswoman said: “We’re disappointed Unite encouraged some of its members to reject our pay offer from May, meaning all its members are yet to receive the pay rise that other salaried staff received more than six months ago.

“We believe our pay rise offer is fair and consistent across our business and the wider industry, particularly with the extremely challenging costs the whole pubs and brewing sector is facing now.

“We’re incredibly grateful to the majority of our brewing and distribution teams whose hard work and commitment has helped to nullify any impact from this industrial action so that pubs across the country continue to receive their deliveries in time for Christmas and the New Year.”

The brewery also said it employed 850 people in its brewing and brand teams, with 188 of those union members and less than 100 had taken part in industrial action.

Unite regional officer Mark Jaina said: “The strike action means popular beers like Old Speckled Hen could run out this Christmas and New Year but this dispute is entirely down to Greene King’s refusal to make a fair pay offer.

“The workers are standing firm and action will spread into 2023. It’s time the company stopped playing Scrooge and started genuine pay talks.”