Heineken shutdown ‘strategic mistake’, strike workers say

Hope on strike. The Heineken group brewery in Schiltigheim, “capital of beer” in Alsace, has been on hold since Tuesday morning. A mobilization in reaction to the “brutal announcement” made on Monday of the planned closure within three year of the Bas-Rhin site and the threat weighing on 220 jobs. A sledgehammer for the local economy who will lose once again, after Adidas, one of his captains. Heineken France has indeed announced the consolidation of its beer production on its two other French sites where 100 million euros will be invested, in Marseille and Mons-en-Barœul, in the north of France.

What leave a bitter taste to Alsatian employees. “All the services present today have mobilized, even administrative services”, notes a striker. Among the fifty employees who are demonstrating in front of the Espérance site, Pascal, who has been present for forty years. Annoyed, and without really hoping that the situation will change, he wonders about a possible buyer: “Who wants to take over a site like this? We saw that coming years ago. There was no heavy investment, nothing more. When I saw they were going to build there [à Marseille et dans le Nord], large capacity halls, which can absorb our production, I understand. For me, Monday’s announcement was not a surprise, it was going to happen sooner or later. It was more about knowing when she was going to arrive. »

The Heineken brewery in Schiltigheim (Bas-Rhin), November 15, 2022
The Heineken brewery in Schiltigheim (Bas-Rhin), November 15, 2022 – G. Varela / 20 Minutes

A production “largely for the East” of France

Also denounced by the strikers, the difficulties access to the site, the arrival of the tram “which is not going to fix anything with the housing everywhere around”, but also and above all “a choice of money”, “just economic”. An announced closure judged as “ a strategic mistake “, advances Vania Brouillard, union representative FO. “In terms of energy ratio, ecology, production… Today, we make 1.5 million hectoliters, the equivalent of 600 million 25 cl cans, he explains. Mainly consumed in the East of France, as required by the company’s strategy, local production, local consumption… Bringing them from the end of France is an ecological aberration, quite simply a mistake”, assures the trade unionist who recalls in passing the historical roots of the brewery, and the labels of excellence received for production on the Alsatian site. .

For the time being, the strikers intend to mobilize, alerted the politicians who “have already reacted quickly”, but also count on “popular support, to help in the negotiations” “It’s not all over, we’re not not beaten, ”says the trade unionist.

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