SA Breweries suspends contracts of 550 temporary workers - report

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Beer bottles filling on the conveyor belt in the brewery factory.
Beer bottles filling on the conveyor belt in the brewery factory.

SA Breweries (SAB) has suspended the contracts of 550 temporary workers indefinitely, citing the impact of the alcohol ban, according to a report on Sunday. 

The brewer, which is owned by AB InBev, told Business Times that the workers were mostly part of the company’s supply and logistics division, including packers and delivery staff.

Fin24 had previously reported that beer producer Heineken South Africa has said it will be cutting its local staff by about 7%, as it has been adversely impacted by three bans on the sales of alcohol the government has imposed, to keep hospitals free of alcohol-related trauma cases as the country battles with Covid-19. 

The company, which suspended a R6-billion expansion project in August 2020, said it had to restructure its South Africa operations because of the impact the pandemic has had on its business in the past year.

SAB announced recently that it intends to bring an urgent application in the Western Cape High Court to challenge government's latest blanket alcohol ban as a last resort.

It had recently also announced that it has cancelled a further R2.5 billion of capital investment following the third blanket ban on alcohol sales. This brings the brewer's cancelled capital expenditure in SA since alcohol sales bans were introduced in 2020 to a total of R5 billion.

President Cyril Ramaphosa told News24 previously that in the wake of that announcement, he was "obviously concerned" about the effect the alcohol ban could have on his investment drive.

- Compiled by Ahmed Ahreff

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