Heineken halts beer production as workers strike for better collective agreement
Hundreds of Heineken employees went on strike on Friday morning for a better collective labor agreement. Heineken, therefore, stopped production at the breweries in Den Bosch and Zoeterwoude. There is also a strike at soft drink manufacturer Vrumona and Bunnik, part of the beer group.
Trade union FNV director Niels Suijker said that about 250 employees registered as strikers at the start of the morning shift. He expects more strikers later in the day when other teams start their workday. The action will last a total of 24 hours. Next week there will be another strike from Monday afternoon until Thursday afternoon, Suijker announced.
A Heineken spokesperson could not say precisely how many strikers there are. According to him, the breweries halted production for safety reasons. The strike will not lead to empty beer shelves in the supermarkets because there are large stocks of beer, the spokesperson said. If breweries are temporarily shut down, it could usually affect the supply to the catering industry. But that is not an issue at the moment, because the catering industry is closed due to the coronavirus measures.
The Heineken employees went on strike because negotiations about a new collective bargaining agreement stalled. FNV believes that Heineken is neglecting its staff with a meager wage increase. The proposed wage increase is lower than inflation. The union said the brewer's offer lacked a good arrangement for stopping work earlier and a higher travel allowance.
Heineken said that the strike was premature. The company said it wants to keep talking with FNV. The union is negotiating with Heineken about three different collective labor agreements for the head office, the commercial branch, and the breweries. Friday's strike is only at the breweries. This collective labor agreement covers around 1,300 employees.
Reporting by ANP