THOUSANDS of Christmas parties could be thwarted by a shortage of booze this year — because drinks depot workers are considering going on strike over “appalling” conditions.
DHL Tradeteam’s Enfield distribution depot supplies around 1,200 pubs, clubs and restaurants with alcoholic drinks.
But general union Unite says the 70 van drivers and warehouse workers have faced “excessive workloads” since the company took on a new contract from brewery Carlsberg earlier this month.
The union is preparing to ballot for industrial action, but has offered bosses a “window of opportunity” to reach a “fair settlement” with workers.
Reps have warned that if the strike goes ahead, punters looking for a bubbly Christmas bash could be left disappointed. “We are putting down a strong marker that deliveries in the run-up to the Christmas period will be drastically affected across London and the south-east,” Unite London region officer Paul Travers said.
“There will be a lot of unhappy thirsty customers at pubs, clubs and restaurants.
“But the health and safety of our members is our paramount concern. We have seen already one lorry involved in an accident, something we have warned would happen many times over recent weeks. Thankfully no-one was hurt.”
Unite said the extra work meant drivers were being sent out in the morning with loads that would take the legal maximum of 15 hours to complete.
A spokesperson for Tradeteam said: “We are aware of Unite’s concerns which were aired at a face-to-face meeting last week.
“Further talks are planned and we look forward to working together to resolve the union’s concerns and reach a satisfactory outcome for all parties.”