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Trade unions in the US have hailed "a major victory" in their healthcare dispute with brewing giant SABMiller.

Workers for SABMiller's US arm, Miller Brewing, had been locked in a dispute with the brewer over healthcare with employees threatening strike action if their demands were not met.

However, workers at Miller's plants in North Carolina and Texas voted yesterday (16 July) to accept new three-year contracts that preserve health care coverage and increases wages.

Jim Hoffa, general president of the Teamsters union, said: "This is a major victory for Teamsters working for SABMiller. The company tried to slash health care benefits and the Teamsters stood up to those threats and refused to back down."

The union claimed that the new package would save SABMiller US$13.5m in healthcare costs. Workers will now pay nothing towards the monthly insurance until the final nine weeks of their contract.

The union praised the support it had won from members around the world and said that backing would be vital in resolving ongoing talks between Miller and its workers in California.

Miller president and CEO Norm Adami labelled the agreements in North Carolina and Texas a "win-win result."

He added: "These agreements support our company strategies, make viable business sense and help ensure the long-term success of Miller Brewing Company and its employees."


Sectors: Beer & cider

Companies: SABMiller

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