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Stop the Greene King sackings!

The Workers Party of Britain condemns the plan by brewing giant Greene King to axe 800 jobs across the country.

So long as the public purse was paying 80% of the company’s wage bill, Greene King was happy enough to pocket the subsidy and keep its options open. But with the furlough scheme coming to an end and the imposition of renewed Covid restrictions on pubs, the company now proposes to sack 800 workers and close 79 of its pubs, with many of them expected to face permanent closure.

Yet the reality is that the Hong Kong owners of Greene King could well afford to keep paying wages for the duration of the pandemic – were they prepared to forgo a tiny fraction of their massive profits. When Greene King was taken over by CKA last year, the company was valued at no less than £2.7 billion. 

CKA, based in Hong Kong but incorporated in that tax dodgers’ paradise the Cayman Islands, is part of a massive business empire controlled by Li Ka-shing, a  91-year-old billionaire with an estimated personal wealth of $29.4 billion, making him the 30th richest man in the world.

Li’s family owns Superdrug and the mobile operator Three, as well as much property in Britain, including the UK headquarters of Swiss bank UBS, the Chelsea Waterfront development and luxury London apartment blocks Belgravia Place and Royal Gate Kensington. Not content with this, the family owns a stake in UK Rail, Northumbrian Water, West Gas Networks and UK Power Networks.

And nowhere in this glittering empire is there enough slack to keep a few hundred Greene King workers in a job till the health emergency eases? Pull the other one.

The decision to wipe out 800 Green King jobs is dictated not by necessity but by the naked greed for maximum profits, no matter what that means in terms of human misery.