By Christopher McCollum
In an earlier article, we touched upon the Belgian beer unions striking against Anheuser-Busch InBev, over cuts of up to 800 employees, which amounts to 10% of their European workforce. The strikers held up production at A-B InBev plants for two weeks, causing shortages of popular Belgian beers all throughout northern Europe.
While this article is being written just past midnight on Sunday, the 24th, I still consider it to be yesterday, Friday the 22nd that the strike was officially called off, and the blockades were lifted. The agreement came mere hours after the first article was written, and the following day, production and delivery continued. Beer shortages eased across the country, and many purveyors of Leffe and Stella breathed a sigh of relief.
It was not just a win for A-B InBev, however, as the union got what they wanted as well, which was a freeze on several hundred layoffs, and the opening of two new call centers in Belgium, providing additional jobs, and reducing the overall job cut to around 260.
This is obviously very good news for both parties, as A-B InBev can finally continue with production, and many hundreds of jobs were saved. However, for this to remain good news, there needs to be a shift in taste in Belgium’s flagging beer market, as more and more drinkers turn to wine and spirits, decreasing beer sells by frightening percentages.
Please, Belgium, for the sake of your brewers, keep buying beer.