Tragedy (Carlsberg Strike May Leave Danes Without Beer During World Cup)

carlsberg signBy Christian Wienberg May 17 (Bloomberg) -- Carlsberg A/S, the Danish brewer that sponsors the England soccer team, may be unable to provide beer to fans in its home country at next month’s World Cup because of a strike by local workers. The strike by Carlsberg’s 1,100 Danish employees, including drivers and factory and warehouse staff, today entered a 12th day and some stores have run out of beer, Jens Bekke, spokesman for the Valby, Denmark-based brewer said in a phone interview. “This strike is turning expensive for us,” Bekke said, declining to be specific on how much the stoppage has cost. “The World Cup is obviously a main sales event.” About 500 workers walked out of Carlsberg’s Fredericia brewery in western Denmark on May 6, protesting that they wouldn’t get a pay increase this year. An additional 600 employees in eastern Denmark joined the strike eight days later. Some stores in western Denmark have run out of the brewer’s Carlsberg and Tuborg beers and outlets in the eastern part of the country will run dry “in a few days,” according to Bekke. Carlsberg, which sells the equivalent of more than 100 million bottles of beer globally every day, gets 2 percent to 3 percent of its sales volume from Denmark. Its biggest domestic rivals are Royal Unibrew A/S, the Nordic region’s second-largest brewer, and low-cost producer Harboes Bryggeri A/S. “This is an illegal strike, so we want the workers to go back to work before we can even begin to talk again,” Bekke said. The dispute will “probably and hopefully” end before the monthlong tournament starts on June 11, as a Danish labor court has imposed fines on the striking workers, he said. Hans Andersen, the employee representative for the striking workers, won’t talk with Carlsberg management and said that the strike will continue even though the court ruled it illegal, newswire Ritzau cited him as saying. Andersen didn’t immediately return a call from Bloomberg News seeking comment. Denmark’s soccer team is grouped with Cameroon, Japan and the Netherlands in the world’s biggest sporting event, which this year takes place in South Africa.

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