Belgian brewing giant to cut 10 percent of European staff

11th January 2010, Comments 0 comments

The world's biggest brewer Anheuser-Busch InBev is to cut 10 percent of its 8,000-strong workforce across Europe, a spokeswoman for the company in Belgium said on Friday.

BRUSSELS - "Because of a generally declining trend in beer consumption across Europe, it is planned, especially in Belgium, Germany, Britain, the Netherlands and Luxembourg, that staff numbers will be broadly reduced by 10 percent," Karen Couck said.

The spokeswoman said the plans were communicated to staff represenatatives on Thursday.

The decision triggered severe fall-out among workers, and hardliners at an Anheuser-Busch InBev brewery in eastern Belgium took about 10 of their bosses hostage on Thursday after the layoffs were announced internally.

On Friday morning, union rep Denis Gobert told AFP that the managers at the Jupiler plant "were released at around 2:30 am (0130 GMT)."

He said the plant was working again, "but nothing is going in or out of the factory" and warned of further "symbolic" action over coming days, although he ruled out a "pure and sustained strike movement."

Around 40 lorries were also blocked from operating at another Belgian plant where Stella Artois beer is brewed with delivery lines halted, leaving a maximum of 36 hours' production time available, another union rep, Alex Van Cauwenberg, told local media.


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