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Monday, September 28, 2009

Beer Pensioners Protest Benefit Cut from 72 Free Beers/Month

Retired Molson employees protest in St. John's September 25.
Retired Molson employees protest in St. John's September 25.

Retired brewery workers gathered outside a Molson plant in St. John's for the second time this year to protest the company’s plans to cut back the amount of beer pensioners receive every month.

Right now, retired workers get six dozen beer per month from the company but Molson plans to reduce that to one dozen beer per month, as of Jan. 1, 2010.

The company says it will drop the allocation altogether in five years.

This is the second time retirees have protested the change. They also protested last June when Molson retirees across the country received a letter from their former employer outlining the planned changes.

The letter says the changes are necessary because of "competitive pressure and the current economy" which have forced the company to "monitor costs and look for innovative ways to control and reduce them."

At the time, the pensioners union representative spoke out against the new policy.

"There's been no consultation with the members, and they've taken beer from them, which is a taxable benefit," said Greg Pretty of the FFAW/CAW, which represents approximately 45 Molson retirees in St. John's.

"The people who brought this company to where it is today … are now being discriminated against based on their age," he said.

There are about 50 retired Molson workers in the province.

A Molson representative told CBC that supplying 2,400 retirees across the country with free beer was costing the company over $1 million a year.