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Thursday, January 27, 2022

Netherlands, Heineken. Workers’ strike at the Den Bosch and Zouterwoude breweries

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Hundreds of Heineken workers on Friday went on strike at two breweries in the Netherlands. The reason is to be the lack of progress in talks on a wage increase. This is the first strike since 1994 in one of the largest brewing companies in the world.

Due to the strike on Friday, production was stopped at the Den Bosch and Zouterwoude breweries near The Hague. About 250 workers took part in the strike on Friday morning, according to Dutch media. This number was to increase in the following hours.

The representative of the trade union FNV Niels Suijker announced that the strike action will last 24 hours. The next steps are scheduled for Monday. The protest action next week is expected to last three days.


The Netherlands – Heineken strike

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A Heineken spokesman could not say exactly how many workers were involved in Friday’s strikes. As he informed, the breweries stopped production for safety reasons. He also assured that the strike would not lead to empty shelves in supermarkets, as there were large supplies of beer there. In turn, restaurants and venues remain closed due to the lockdown.

Trade union FNV demands higher wages for workers. Negotiations on this matter have been going on since the summer of 2021, but have stalled. “We didn’t aim to strike, but nothing came from the company,” Niels Suijker told AFP. “People have been working in dangerous conditions over the past two years in connection with the pandemic,” he added.

Production plant in Den BoschPeter Boer / Bloomberg via Getty Images

According to FNV, Heineken is neglecting its employees by offering them a small pay raise. As noted, the proposed wage growth is below the inflation rate. The company’s offer assumes a 3.5% increase in wages, while in December inflation in the Netherlands reached 5.7%. In addition to the wage increase, the union also demands a better pension scheme.

FNV is in talks with a brewing group on three different collective agreements for employees: headquarters, trade and breweries. Friday’s strike only affects breweries. This collective agreement covers approximately 1,300 employees.

Local media recalled that the last Heineken strike took place in April 1994, also after the wage talks failed.

Main photo source: Peter Boer / Bloomberg via Getty Images

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