WORKERS at the historic Boddingtons brewery in Manchester walked out in unofficial strike action yesterday over owner InBev's handling of the closure of the site.
Greedy InBev (previously known as Interbrew) bosses want to shut down the Strangeways brewery - the home of the Mancunian real ale - transferring production to sites in south Wales, Glasgow and Preston in Lancashire.
The measure will mean the loss of 55 jobs. But if managers expected that it would be easy to put an end to the Strangeways brewery, they were mistaken.
Workers downed tools yesterday, describing a consultation exercise, designed to give unions their say on the closure as a "total sham."
T&G regional organiser Franny Joyce noted that the company has provided "no information whatsoever" to support claims that a plan to save the brewery - agreed between union reps and the company two years ago - has failed.
Managers informed T&G that the survival package was a "nice idea" that hadn't worked, he said.
When workers on the shop floor heard the news, their "anger and sense of betrayal boiled over" causing a spontaneous 24-hour walkout, Mr Joyce revealed.
"Whilst the legal process for doing these things hasn't been followed, I can fully understand why the workers have responded in this way."
He told bosses that workers deserved a proper dialogue with the company "to work on saving the brewery, not threats of closure."
Activists argue that InBev's decision is motivated by "pure greed," insisting that the Strangeways brewery is being unnecessarily sacrificed to further increase the company's profits.
Under the move, Boddingtons real ale, marketed as "The Cream of Manchester," will be produced at another brewery in the city, while Strangeways brewery's other brewing work will be spread across Britain.
Mr Joyce said he will soon be meeting Campaign for Real Ales chief executive Mike Bennett, to form an allegiance in the battle to keep Boddingtons at Strangeways.
The union activist said that the T&G and Camra intend "jointly to expose InBev's manipulation of the beer market, to get people to drink Stella rather than real ales."
He said that ploughing marketing and advertising budgets into the cheap, mass-produced lager is "maximising already massive profits at the expense of the workforce."
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