Thirsty Christmas partygoers could face a 'drinks drought' as the Sheffield drivers who deliver the booze to pubs nationwide are balloting for strike action.
More than 100 drivers and drivers' mates at Tradeteam Ltd, owned by DHL, will start balloting tomorrow for industrial action over a long-running health and safety dispute.
The drivers, based at the Shepcote Lane depot in Sheffield, deliver alcoholic drinks for Coors, Carlsberg, Greene King, Mitchells & Butlers and Whitbread.
The Unite union said drinkers could face a 'drinks drought' if they vote for strike action as it will affect deliveries to hundreds of clubs, pubs and restaurants across the country.
Unite regional officer Harriet Eisner said: “The drivers and their mates are being balloted for strikes over Tradeteam’s neglect of health and safety issues and workload allocations which are unmanageable.
“This includes loads in excess of agreed weight limits and allocation of routes that exceed agreed hours. The bosses are pushing the envelope on contracted hours."
She said the dispute has been ongoing for more than two years and added: "This dispute is not about pay, but about the welfare of our members.
“Unite has nearly 100 percent membership of drivers and mates at the Sheffield depot, and the first planned industrial action could be just before Christmas.
“We urge the company to get around the table for constructive talks; otherwise there is a real prospect of a ‘beer drought’ across Yorkshire, Humberside and the north Midlands for seasonal partygoers.”
The union said extra investment is needed in more drivers and equipment.
The ballot closes on Monday, November 27.
Tradeteam Ltd have been asked for comment and we are awaiting a reply.