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India: AB InBev brewery workers protest against alleged union busting attempts; Incl. co. comments

Anheuser-Busch InBev (AB InBev) - the world's largest brewer which owns global brands including Budweiser, Hoegaarden and Corona - has been accused of trying to break up the employee's union in its brewery unit in Sonipat, Haryana.

As of 24 July 2019, workers at the brewery, under the banner of Haryana Breweries Ltd. Mazdoor Union (HBMU), have observed 517 days of protest against their management's attempts at undermining their union. Their allegations against the company include termination of union leaders, withdrawal of union recognition, refusal to negotiate with the union and attacks on union members.

HBMU has received support for its protests from the International Union of Food, Agricultural, Hotel, Restuarant, Catering, Tobacco and Allied Workers' Associations (IUF), which is representing HBMU in a case filed in the Belgium courts of OECD Watch against AB InBev India. 

Ab InBev have stated it is engaging in an ongoing dialogue with HBMU. The comments can be found in the articles below.

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Article
17 September 2019

India: Workers protest outside AB InBev headquarters demanding end to union busting

Author: The International Union of Food, Agricultural, Hotel, Restaurant, Catering, Tobacco and Allied Workers' Associations (IUF)

"Brave struggle of AB InBev Sonepat workers continues", 11 September 2019

AB InBev Sonepat workers have been fighting for their rights for more than 540 days. To support their struggle, IUF affiliates in India organized a protest action in front of AB InBev's Bangalore office on September 9. They demanded that AB InBev stop busting the union and ruining lives...

...AB InBev India unions met to discuss the issues they face...They shared concerns about job security resulting from reductions in production and highlighted increased pressure on workers from Sonepat management.

AB InBev...is...refusing...to share production and outsourcing plans with the unions. Faced with production cuts and no information from the company, workers and their families...have...concerns about their future.

At the September 9 protest, private security officers threatened...protesters with legal action...

 

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Article
31 July 2019

India: Brewery workers' protest against union busting reaches 500 days

Author: Ronak Chhabra, News Click

"Repression, Duplicity and 500 Days of Protest: Brewery Workers Stand United", 8 July 2019

July 7 marked the 500th day of uninterrupted protest by the workers of AB InBev's Budweiser plant in Sonipat, under the banner of Haryana Breweries Ltd. Mazdoor Union (HBMU)...

...In a press note...the independent union declared that the workers will continue their demonstration to put pressure on the management to stop the selective victimisation of the union members and reinstate the terminated union committee members – who were, according to the union, fired by the management three years ago through illegal means...

...As of now, four people, including the then general secretary and president of the union, are terminated by the management....

...As of now, four people, including the then general secretary and president of the union, are terminated by the management...members of the union also feel betrayed by the Bhartiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS)... [who] as told to NewsClick…joined hands with the management and…played a major role in breaking the unity of HBMU members...

...The plant currently operates for full 24 hours a day and the permanent workers are divided in three shifts while the contract workers, who are in majority, are divided in two shifts...

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Article
31 July 2019

India: Trade union allege 'selective victimisation' as AB InBev management suspend union members following media exposure of protests

Author: Ronak Chhabra, News Click

"Sonipat Budweiser Plant: Management Retaliates with ‘Selective Victimisation’, Suspends Union Members", 24 July 2019

The tussle between the management of the Anheuser-Busch (AB InBev) Budweiser plant in Sonipat and the workers of Haryana Breweries Ltd. Mazdoor Union (HBMU) has taken another ugly turn with the management taking retaliating measures against the union members for speaking to media regarding their struggle.

In a move, which the union members allege is ‘selective victimization’, two union members...were suspended. According to the union, the management has taken such measures in retaliation to the media reports that highlighted AB InBev management’s indifference to the struggles of the HBMU workers...

 ...such vengeful acts will only strengthen the unity of the workers, says the leaders of the union...

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Article
15 July 2019

India: Workers protest against alleged union busting at world's largest brewer

Author: Akhil Kumar, The Wire

"Employees Allege ‘Witch Hunt’ of Union Members at Budweiser Brewery Near Delhi", 14 July 2019

...Anheuser-Busch InBev (AB InBev), the world’s largest brewer with global brands like Budweiser, Hoegaarden and Corona, has been accused of trying to break up the employee’s union in its brewery unit in Sonipat, Haryana….Employees have pitched a tent across the road from the unit to protest against the company’s actions…

 The Haryana Breweries Limited Mazdoor Union (HBLMU)...is the recognised trade union...two opposing factions are competing for claim to the union. The protesting employees blame company management for creating this discord….

 Sixty workers are in support of the protesting employees while 22 have formed a parallel union…The AB InBev management recognises the latter…

 …Four union members…were…terminated by AB InBev on charges that all of them term ‘fake’…protesting employees allege constant harassment and intimidation by the management to disassociate from the union…The protesting employees have…gone to the high court…to challenge the legitimacy of the new union…

The Wire reached out to AB InBev…: “...we take any concerns related to labor relations extremely seriously. As part of this commitment, we have ongoing dialogue with the independently elected union leadership that represent our workers to engage on labor related matters.”

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