A major strike has broken out at four AB InBev breweries in Belgium, after negotiations on working conditions had broken down. Among other things, the unions are demanding higher bonuses.
“Staff want part of the profit”
Production at the four breweries had come to a complete standstill yesterday morning, and some of the white-collar workers have also put down their tools, the unions report. The action broke out after the unions and the management failed to agree on a higher purchasing power bonuses and on additional bonuses for night shifts.
“AB InBev’s shareholders and managers get high bonuses. The staff want to share in that pleasure”, Sander Mouton of the ACV union told Belgian newspaper De Tijd. He also points out that the company is making savings at the expense of employees. More than 10 % of staff are sick, retiring people are not being replaced and machines suffer from poor maintenance, he says.
AB InBev only wanted to respond in writing, saying that “We regret that, despite ongoing talks, a strike has occurred among part of the staff in the breweries, distribution centres and in our technical catering teams. A follow-up consultation with the affected employees was already scheduled next week. We hope to resolve this situation quickly through constructive consultations.”
It is possible that the strike will continue beyond its original 24-hour limit, ACV warns: that will depend on the way the management responds. To what extent the actions will have an impact on the supply of shops and catering, is not yet clear.