Blockades at InBev plants set to end

Posted by Isobel Drake on 22nd January 2010

The world’s largest brewer has finally managed to reach a deal with unions that will stop the blockades at their Belgian plants after two weeks of production cuts.

Supplies of Anheuser-Busch InBev’s local brands have steadily fallen as unions in Belgium organised blockades at three plants in response to plans for a ten per cent reduction in the workforce.

After two failed mediation attempts, the two sides reached an agreement on Thursday night that will end the strike action. The deal involves InBev agreeing to postpone job cuts.

The blockades caused great damage to the maker of Stella Artois and Leffe, with reports of supermarket shelves being gradually emptied of their stock and bars turning to other beers to satisfy the thirst of their customers.

Unions have been arguing that the high profits of the company mean layoffs are not necessary, while InBev points to a deteriorating beer market in Belgium as a reason for cutbacks.