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Anheuser-Busch InBev's Labatt Breweries to halt free beer pension perk

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Anheuser-Busch InBev's Canadian unit, Labatt Breweries, is to end a benefits policy that gives free beer to all retirees in Canada.

AB InBevs Labatt Breweries was reportedly accused of “nickel-and-diming" its staff

AB InBev's Labatt Breweries was reportedly accused of “nickel-and-diming" its staff

A spokesperson for the division said today the move aims to stem "the escalating costs" of maintaining a full benefits package. The free beer policy will end in 2019.

"We only came to this decision after benchmarking a range of Canadian beer and consumer packaged goods companies," the spokesperson said. "It showed that our overall package of pension and retirement benefits are competitive and none of the companies we surveyed offered free product to retirees."

The current allocation varies by province and is provided to employees on an optional basis, the spokesperson added.

A CBC news report today said the beer allotment has been part of Labatt's pension package for more than 50 years. The report quoted a union official that said the policy change was a "nickel-and-diming of our retirees" and that the free beer allocation was relatively cheap for the company. 

AB InBev is not the only alcohol producer to incur employee anger for changes to pension plans. A trade union in the UK has threatened Diageo with industrial action after the Johnnie Walker owner announced it was to move employees on a legacy pension scheme to its current plan.


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