A GROWING movement of Redditch and Alcester pub landlords is gathering grassroots support in its battle to win better treatment from the big pub companies.

Landlord Dave Lostitch, of the Black Horse, in Mount Pleasant, organised a meeting of landlords who have joined forces to demand a "fairer deal".

Mr Lostitch said he had nothing left to lose by spearheading the "David and Goliath" campaign, reported in last week's Advertiser.

At the meeting, also attended by members of the Campaign for Real Ale, landlords said a major concern was the way the companies set rents.

Mr Lostitch said: "They only have an upward rent policy. Surely it's more sensible to set rents according to how well a pub is doing? Licensees whose pubs aren't doing well cannot afford to pay as much."

Other concerns were the amount of cash companies took from gaming machines, the beers pubs were forced to stock and the rising costs to customers.

Michelle Brannan, of the Jolly Farmer pub in Woodrow, said: "We get no support. In 12 months I've never met the guy from our pub company who's supposed to deal with my pub."

Paul Convey, of the Swan Hotel, Alcester, said: "We love the trade, it's just the constant struggle we can't stand."

Punch Taverns, which owns the Black Horse, would not comment on individual issues.

But a spokesman said: "Punch has a commitment to its retailers to help them build better businesses."

For more details on the campaign, call Mr Lostitch on 65572 or 07944 809284.