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AB InBev offers SAB managers severance packages amid changes

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Cape Town – Anheuser-Busch (AB) InBev has offered managers at South African Breweries (SAB) a voluntary severance offer programme, as the global beer conglomerate begins merging operations between the two massive firms.

“We can confirm that a VSO (voluntary severance offer) programme for certain management-level employees based in South Africa has been embarked upon,” Robyn Chalmers, head of media and communications at SAB, told Fin24 on Monday.

Chalmers dispelled media reports that over 1 000 managerial roles would be affected.

“It is important to note that no employee will be forcibly retrenched as a result of the merger,” she said. “It is too early in the process to say how many people may opt for the voluntary offer.

“It is thus incorrect to say that 1 000 managerial roles will be reduced, as has previously been reported,” she said.

Chalmers said the voluntary severance offer programme arrangements are in keeping with the conditions AB InBev agreed to with the South African Competition Tribunal.

These include that there will be no forced retrenchments in perpetuity in relation to the merger with SABMiller; employment numbers must be maintained for five years; and there may be no voluntary separation arrangements for employees at the bargaining unit level during the five year period.

The severance programme, which is entirely voluntary, has been made available only to certain employees at management level and above, and not to those who are at bargaining unit level, Chalmers said.

“Africa, including South Africa, will play a big role in the future of the combined company,” said Chalmers. “We are introducing some changes to processes, ways of working and the structure of the business and roles.

“We understand that during this period of change some employees may wish to voluntarily exit our business, which is why we have introduced a VSO (voluntary severance offer).”

What AB InBev promised

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