Brewer calls time on hundreds of UK jobs

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The Independent Online

Anheuser-Busch InBev, the company behind the Stella Artois, Becks and Budweiser brands, looks set to cull hundreds of jobs in the UK.

A memo sent last week to staff of the group, created by InBev's $52bn (£35bn) purchase last month of Anheuser-Busch, warned of "potential redundancies across the combined organisation", adding that the management planned "to carry out restructures within a number of areas across the businesses".

The email, sent by Stuart McFarlane, AB InBev's UK president, and Tony Monteiro, European production director, stated that "due to the number of people potentially affected by these changes, we will undertake a 90-day consultation process".

AB InBev which is based in Belgium, employs 120,000 people globally and more than 2,500 in the UK. With a head office in Luton, it has operations in England, Scotland, Wales, as well as the Republic of Ireland.

The email listed in detail the areas of the business where staff were being assessed for redundancy, including: all previous Anheuser-Busch UK sales and support staff; InBev employees in on- and off-trade multiples; commercial on- and off-trade InBev roles; as well as workers in InBev operations, finance and corporate affairs.

When the deal between the two companies was struck, the expected savings from the tie-up were put at $1.5bn a year. The new group sugg-ested that job losses would be kept to a minimum.

In 2006, when InBev instigated a job cuts programme in Belgium, 2,000 protesting staff forced the temporary closure of three of the firm's factories. Earlier this year it locked horns with the GMB union over 160 job losses at its Samlesbury brewery near Preston.

AB InBev spokespeople were unavailable for comment.