GMB Pubco Roadshow Events In West, North & South Yorkshire

8 Feb 2010

There are 25,000 tied tenants (lessees) of seven large property companies called pubcos. These are Admiral Taverns Ltd, Enterprise Inns, Fuller Smith & Turner, Greene King, Marston’s, Punch Pub Company, and S & N Pub Enterprises. Lessees are charged up to double the wholesale prices available on the open market. In May 2009 The House of Commons Business and Enterprise Committee (BEC) found that two thirds of them earn less than £15,000 per annum for up to 60 hours per week.

The dates on the tour are as follows: (more dates to follow)

Thursday 11th February 3pm
The Queens Arms ,
201 Harrogate Road,

Tuesday 16th February 3.00pm
The London Club
Surrey Street
Sheffield S12LG

Wednesday 3rd March 3.00pm
The Three Cups
York Road
Stamford Bridge
York Y041 1AX

Thursday 11th March 3pm
The Nelson Inn,
Skipton Road,
Harrogate, HG3 2BU

Paul Maloney GMB National Secretary said” With these road shows GMB is setting out to solve two separate but related problems in the pub sector.

First the BBPA which represents the owners of 25,000 pub properties has a role akin to the Country Landowners Association which represents the interests of owners of rural properties. However there is no organisation like the National Farmers Union to represent the tied tenants who work the properties. The House of Commons BEC report identified this total inequality of bargaining power between pubcos and lessees as part of the problem in the industry.

Second the property owners refuse to acknowledge the economic problems that arise as a consequence of the wholesale prices they charge the tenants. GMB consider that the average tied lessee is being overcharged by pubcos by around £12,000 per annum, after higher “wet rents” and lower “dry rents” are factored into the equation.

The regulators and legislators have to date refused to remedy this second problem. The OFT have said that the contractual issues that gives rise to this overcharging are matters to be dealt with in negotiations between pubcos and lessees. But there is no mechanism for this which relates back to the first problem.

Tied pub tenants, through the Fair Pint campaign and the Pub Revolution movement, came to the conclusion during 2009 that the only answer is to combine into GMB to deal with the first problem and take legal official industrial action to secure negotiations with pubcos to deal with the second problem. We now step up action to build an organization to progress these conclusions.

The recent u turn on the OFT investigation and the appointment of John Healy as Minister for Pubs gives scope for parallel political action to help secure cuts in wholesale prices from the pubcos.

A spokesperson for Pub Revolution said “Parliament has given tied tenants legal immunity in trades disputes when we are members of an independent and registered trades union. There is no doubt in our minds that pub tenants need to use this immunity to free themselves of the yoke of the pubcos and GMB agrees with this.

We think there is no other effective remedy since the OFT washed it hands of the dispute. We want to use the road show to explain all this to tenants and secure their support for action.”