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800 Workers Strike Over Tightened Drinking-At-Work Policies

Fri, 04/09/2010 - 4:47am

COPENHAGEN (AP) — Scores of Carlsberg workers walked off their jobs in protest Thursday after the Danish brewer tightened laid-back rules on workplace drinking and removed beer coolers from work sites, a company spokesman said.

The warehouse and production workers in Denmark are rebelling against the company's new alcohol policy, which allows them to drink beer only during lunch hours in the canteen. Previously, they could help themselves to beer throughout the day, from coolers placed around the work sites.

The only restriction was "that you could not be drunk at work. It was up to each and everyone to be responsible," company spokesman Jens Bekke said.

Carlsberg had mulled a stricter drinking policy for years and finally decided to impose the new rules on April 1, prompting protests from the staff.

Bekke said around 800 workers went on strike Wednesday and around 250 walked off their jobs Thursday, resulting in interruptions to beer transports in and around Copenhagen.

Carlsberg's truck drivers joined the strike in sympathy — even though they are exempt from the new rules, Bekke said. The truck drivers are permitted to bring three beers from the canteen because they often don't have time to have lunch there.

The trucks have alcohol ignition locks preventing the drivers from driving drunk, he added.

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