Pub Tenants


If you are a tenant of Punch, Enterprise or another major pub operating company, this will be of interest to you. GMB is one of the largest trade unions in the UK with over 610,000 members in all sectors of the economy. The union’s role is to improve working conditions for members through campaigning and negotiation.

Some GMB members are pub tenants with the major pub operating companies. They have sought the assistance of the union to secure a better deal from their landlords: lower rents and keener wholesale prices.  GMB has concluded that the best way of helping is to highlight the anticompetitive actions of some pub companies to the government and establish a system of negotiations across the industry that will make sure each tenant can make a decent living. Only pub tenants can achieve this, working together through a trade union.

Pub tenants joining GMB would not be breaking new ground. Many thousands of self employed people in the hospitality and entertainment industries are already active trade union members. For decades GMB has been involved in campaigning and negotiating pay and conditions for bar managers/tenants in members clubs under the CORCA agreement with the club owners.

We recently told government ministers that an unintended consequence of the Beer Order legislation in the 1990s to loosen the tie between breweries and pubs to free up the market for the benefit of consumers has been the growth in ‘Pubcos’ who are operating in an anti –competitive manner.  It is the impact of the higher charges for drinks that is killing pubs and
driving them out of business. ‘Pubcos’ are blaming everyone else for the problem and not looking at the damage they have caused through their own greed.  GMB are calling on the government and MPs to revisit this legislation.

Our aim is to break up these companies to enable pub landlords to buy their beer from breweries and wholesalers at real and competitive prices. Pubs cannot survive being made to be cash cows to pay off the debts of the property companies and brewers. They do not have the interests of pubs and consumers at heart. 

We can only achieve this goal together if enough pub tenants stand up to be counted, join the union and get involved. We will organise collective legal challenges to the pub companies, lobby government ministers and represent individual members in disputes with their pub companies.

Pub Tenant Application Form.pdf

GMB Legal Package

For all legal issues other than Brulines, (see below), GMB has arranged a heavily subsidised rate with Andrews Angel Solicitors. The cost to each existing member is £250 plus VAT for an initial 2 hour case review. If, during the review, issues are identified that may have wider implications for the GMB membership as a whole or opportunities to establish precedents and case law are identified then GMB may consider further financial assistance. Otherwise, members are then responsible for their own costs after having received advice.

The procedure for accessing the legal assistance package is for members to contact Sue Boyd asap and you will be sent a questionnaire to complete and return. Paperwork will be forwarded to Andrews Angel Solicitors who will contact you direct.

Regarding Brulines issues, we have an information pack and questionnaire available on request to members and issues will be reviewed on a case by basis by our in-house legal team at National Office.

For further details please contact Sue Boyd at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or telephone 01246 234383.

Pubco Legal Package.doc


Wednesday 01 April 2015

After a decade of campaigning a landlord is celebrating a new law protecting the rights of pub tenants getting the Royal seal of approval - but says it may not be enough. Dave Mountford, landlord of the Boat Inn at Cromford, has worked tirelessly over the last ten years alongside a handful of other landlords and politicians to free pub tenants of beer ties - which meant a landlord had to buy their beer from a brewery, often at extortionate rates. The law was successfully changed in November last year, meaning tenants of large pub companies would be able to have their rent reviewed every year in order to ensure it is fair, as well as buy beer at competitive prices on the open market.

However Dave is worried that if landlords of tied pubs don’t understand their rights they might not be able to take advantage of their new freedom. He explained: “I’m concerned that if people out there don’t understand it there will be misinformation by the pub companies.” In a bid to tackle the problem Dave plans to do a series of talks and demonstrations, explaining the new law to people and how they can chose to go ‘market rent only’ meaning they would be free of tie. It will take a year for the new law to come into effect as opart of amendments to the Government’s Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Bill. Dave is a former GMB Union representative who has given evidences in the Houses of Parliament on the pressures placed on landlords by pub companies.

He said a typical tied tenant will earn less than £15,000 per year from their pub and frequently work in excess of 80 hours per week to achieve this figure. Dave previously ran the Rising Sun in Middleton-by-Wirksworth, which was owned by Punch Taverns, for five years. He added: “As their earning capacity reduces they are often forced to cut corners in basic remedial services and I have frequently seen pubs left with no basic health and safety systems in place when a tenant either leaves or is forced out by their landlord following recovery of unsustainable debts.” He concluded that the change to the law was a ‘monumental’ judicial change.

Source: Matlock Mercury 1/4/15

GMB Welcome Vote In Parliament For Tied Tenants


GMB welcomes the vote for market rent only clause in the Small Business Bill giving Pubco tenants a fairer deal. MPs have done the right thing and GMB welcomes this and hopes the government will accept the vote and move to properly implement it to save 25,000 tied pubs.

GMB, the union for tied pub tenants, welcome the vote by 284 to 259 ( majority 25) in Parliament on Tuesday, 18th November 2014 for a new Clause 2 in the Small Business Bill which puts a ‘market rent only’ (MRO) option for tied pub tenants on to the statute book. The Government is committed to introducing a statutory code of practice for the large pub companies in the Small Business Bill that reached the Report stage today in Parliament. That Bill will enshrine in law the long accepted but largely ignored principle: that the tied licensee should not be worse off than a free of tie licensee. This new clause introduces the market rent only option for tenants of the large pubcos, who own more than 500 pubs, with this applying only to companies that own 500 or more pubs, applying to their leased, tenanted and franchised pubs only.

A cross party new clause was tabled by Greg Mulholland, Chair of the Parliamentary Save the Pub Group, Adrian Bailey, Chair of the BIS Select Committee and Brian Binley, a member of the Select Committee and President of the Save the Pub Group with support from MPs across the house. The New Clause was supported by the national campaign for reform of the unfair pubco model, the Fair Deal for Your Local campaign coalition backed by 10 organisations.

Paul Kenny GMB General Secretary said “MPs have done the right thing and GMB welcome this. Government must accept this vote and move to properly implement it to save 25,000 tied pubs. MPs have voted for a clause that shows that the market rent only option is a simple, cheap to administer and market based solution that at certain trigger points would simply give licensees the choice as to whether to pay a fair rent only or stick with a tied agreement. This choice will force the large pub companies to ensure that their tied agreements – where tenants pay marked up prices for beer and other products and services - are competitive, fair and attractive to tenants.”