Guinness, workers forge closure deal

Shutting down packaging plant had sparked brief strike

May 31, 2001 - Irish workers at a Guinness plant in Dundalk have accepted a redundancy deal that includes free beer for the next 10 years.


The agreement will allow Guinness to close the beer packaging plant by the end of July without fear of another strike. A one-day strike in April shut down all Guinness operations in Ireland.

The deal for the 140 workers includes pensions at 45 and lump sums of up to 137,000, along with free beer, health insurance and scholarships for schoolchildren for the next 10 years. A spokesman for Guinness's parent company Diageo says beer allowances are common in the industry and work out at about 14 bottles a week.

The Irish Independent says the pension part of the deal alone will cost the company 14.5 million. The complicated deal was agreed at the Labor Relations Commission following weeks of negotiations. A union source said that the Dundalk redundancy deal would be so expensive that it might force Guinness management to reconsider whether it could afford further closures.

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