Heineken’s announcement that it is cutting its global workforce by 8,000 jobs as the pandemic continues to hit the hospitality sector is ‘a matter for great concern’, Unite, Britain and Ireland’s largest union, said today (Wednesday 10 February).
Unite understands that the job losses will fall on sales, marketing, admin and backroom staff, rather than directly impacting on manufacturing. It is reported that the cuts will affect less than 100 of the 2,300 Heineken employees in the UK.
Unite has members at the brewing operations in Edinburgh, Hereford, Manchester and Tadcaster in North Yorkshire.
Unite national officer for the drinks industry Joe Clarke said: “This is very concerning news that Heineken, the world's second-largest brewer, is axing 10 per cent of its global workforce.
“We understand that these job losses won’t affect our members working in the UK plants that brew beers and ciders, but will impact on marketing, sales and admin posts. However, we will be seeking urgent clarification from the Heineken management on the impact in the UK.
“The pandemic has hit the sales of beer and sales due to the closure of pubs, bars and restaurants, although there is an expectation that restrictions will be eased by early summer giving a boost to demand as the hospitality sector opens its doors once more.
“In the longer term, there are worries for the future of the brewing sector as an estimated 6,000 pubs, bars and licenced premises in the UK have closed during the coronavirus crisis.
“This reinforces the strong case for the government to give more support to ‘hospitality’ and the tens of thousands of people that rely on it for employment.
“Unite will be monitoring developments across the brewing industry very closely over the next few months.”
Heineken has said that the closure of pubs in March and subsequent restrictions, including over the Christmas period, has hit sales volumes of beer and cider over the course of the year.