Heineken cuts hit UK jobs

By James Ridler contact

- Last updated on GMT

Heineken is cutting 8,000 jobs worldwide
Heineken is cutting 8,000 jobs worldwide

Related tags: Drinks, Jobs

Heineken is to slash jobs across its UK operations, as part of a larger worldwide job cuts in the wake of COVID-19 disruption.

The beer giant announced 8,000 roles would go, including some at its head office in Amsterdam, about 10% of its employees. Less than 100 jobs are on the line in the UK, representing about 4% of the workforce there.

Heineken informed its employees of a restructure within the UK in October last year, followed by a full consultation. It is understood that the announcements of the jobs cuts represent its completion.

COVID-19 impact

The planned job cuts come as the brewer’s sales continue to be hit by pub closures in March and subsequent restrictions, including over the Christmas period.

A spokesman for the business said: “While we experienced an increase in volumes in the off-trade, where our premium beer brands performed well, it in no way made up for the loss of volumes in the on-trade.”

Despite this we have been able to increase market share in both channels and, pleasingly, we have seen an outperformance of our low and non-alcoholic portfolio where Heineken 0.0 is now clearly the number one beer brand in this category.”

Investment and Government support

While Heineken has invested more than £44m in rent reductions for its licensees and support measures to help pubs open safely and viably, it called for more to be done by the Government to aid the pub sector through business rates relief and a cut to VAT to support sustainable recovery.

“The NHS vaccination programme is a light at the end of the tunnel, and we look forward to welcoming back consumers to pubs across the country as soon as it is safe to do so,”​ the spokesman added.

Workers union Unite raised concerns around the job cuts, with particular focus on its members working at Heineken’s brewing operations in Edinburgh, Hereford, Manchester and Tadcaster in north Yorkshire.

Clarification needed

National officer for the drinks industry Joe Clarke said: “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.

“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.”

Meanwhile, £7.4bn and more than 290,000 jobs could be wiped out​ unless the Government regularly reviews the 10pm pub curfew rule and tailors financial support for pubs and brewers, according to trade representatives.

Related topics: People & Skills, Drinks, Brexit

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