By Christopher McCollum
Time Magazine reports that Belgium is running out of beer, and it’s because of labor strikes over planned cuts of 800 jobs. Anheuser-Busch InBev, the world’s largest brewer, announced their plans to cut these jobs and have been met with fierce resistance all around the country for the past two weeks, as striking union members have blockaded breweries and set fire to paths leading in and out. No delivery trucks can pick up the untold thousands of gallons of beer that is stuck inside loading bays, and the brewing equipment itself is running dry as they are unable to get supplies.
Anger over the decision to cut jobs was increased as A-B InBev announced third-quarter profits soaring over $1.5B USD, and people are feeling that this is the ugly side of Capitalism. A-B InBev is taking the stance that they are a global company employing over one hundred thousand people around the world, and they must look after the best interests for the company. InBev bought out Anheuser-Busch in 2008, and in doing so, went heavily into debt. They are struggling to repay, and have already sold eight major theme parks in the United States. The workers in Leuven, Belgium, which traces their brewing back to the middle 14th century, have a greater concern for their families than for the Brazilian ran company’s debts. The striking workers have been so incensed, they have even taken several members of A-B InBev management hostage, while demanding to speak to executives within the company. The hostages were released without incident after 11 hours.
With A-B InBev owning over 200 brands of beer around the world, including several major brands in Belgium, one must wonder if global beer supplies will be effected by this strike as well. The bars in Belgium are reporting shortages, and pretty soon these shortages may reach the rest of Europe and the world. For those who love Stella Artois, Hoegaarden, and Leffe, now may be the time to begin stocking up, as there is no telling how long this strike could go on; As there is virtually no chance at saving their jobs, they may just camp out on the drives that lead in and out of the plants for several more weeks in order to spite A-B InBev, and put a wrench in the gears of what many people believe to be nothing more than yet another profit-over-people mega corporation.
Special thanks to Dwight Walker Jr. for contributing to this article.