BELGIUM: InBev strike ends – W Europe to follow?
The strike affecting InBev's Belgian operations has ended, but the brewer has warned that industrial action might affect other Western European markets going forward.
The strike, which ran into its third day yesterday (8 June), came to an end late last night, a spokesperson for InBev Belgium told just-drinks today. "Agreement was reached at 0300 this morning," the spokesperson said.
Prior to the resolution, InBev Belgium's distribution depots had been closed by the action, threatening supplies to the country as the arrival of the World Cup coincides with a spate of good weather in the country. The spokesperson played down the threat, however: "All sides are back to work. There are no problems with deliveries, and we will try to recuperate all the lost time over the weekend. Independent wholesalers have quite a lot of stock at the moment."
InBev had announced that it was laying off 259 workers in Belgium, driven by ongoing struggles in the consolidated Western European markets. The move prompted the industrial action, which has been resolved with the redundancies being limited to 40 workers. The remaining staff will be offered new internal jobs, the spokesperson said.
When asked about the prospect of employer issues in neighbouring markets, the spokesperson for InBev Belgium conceded that there may be trouble ahead. "The beer markets in Western Europe are in a similar position to here in Belgium," he said. "These consequences could follow suit elsewhere as well."
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