The world's largest brewer Anheuser-Busch has come to an employment agreement with workers at a dozen US breweries who have been represented by the Teamsters Union. The Union and its members have approved a five-year labour contract.

The deal includes a commitment by Anheuser-Busch to keep all 12 breweries open during the term of the new agreement, which expires in February 2009.

The brewer said in a statement that the plan sees wages increase by 65 cents an hour in the first year, 60 cents an hour in the middle three years and 55 cents an hour in the fifth year.

The agreement also maintains a health-care package that doesn't require employees to pay premiums in company-sponsored plans. In addition AB said pension benefits have increased 14% for defined benefits plans.

An early agreement by the workers under the contract will see them receive early wage and benefit increases and a $1,000 ratification bonus.

The existing contract expires at the end of February.