AB InBev 'regrets' protest by union members and hopes for dialogue
Beer giant AB InBev said it "regrets" the action by international trade unions at its headquarters on Saturday afternoon. "We consider social dialogue with workers and their representatives important in all markets where we operate," the brewer said. Around 200 workers gathered at the company's headquarters in Leuven on Saturday.
AB InBev released a press statement that pointed to its growing market share "despite the general decline in beer consumption". They also recognised the local identity of the beer industry, "which creates value and employment for local communities."
The brewer dismisses criticism that workers in Belgium are not well taken care of. "Brewery employees in Belgium are among the best paid in the broader food and beverage industry, and the workforce has remained stable since the beginning of 2023."
In Germany, redundancies are indeed on the cards, AB InBev admits, saying, "Due to rising costs, changing consumer needs and a shrinking beer market, the decision to shut down one of the lines in Issum (the Diebel plant, ed.) is necessary. Together with the employees and the works council, we have worked to make the proposed changes as socially acceptable as possible."
©BELGA VIDEO EMIEL CARTER
Earlier on Saturday, around 200 people gathered at the headquarters of the brewery AB InBev in Leuven to protest against the beer giant's personnel policy. At the same time, the activists denounced a policy that they say underfunds and understaffs local and historic brands.
Aside from the Belgian and German unions, the Dutch FNG and the European umbrella unions EFFAT and IUF also made their voices heard at the protest. In a manifesto, the unions wrote that AB InBev's profits were not being passed on to its employees. Despite financial stability, "the company chooses to dismantle its human capital, destroy jobs, both in Europe and worldwide, and attack workers' rights".
©BELGA PHOTO JASPER JACOBS