Under the proposed changes, all HUK employees, including those working in head office support functions for its Star Pubs & Bars managed estate, will now receive three weeks’ pay per year of service, subject to a maximum of 52 weeks’ pay, if they are made redundant.
This system, which is currently in a consultation period before full implementation next July, will replace a number of existing redundancy schemes, including one that tied settlements to the employee’s age, as well the number of years they had been with Heineken.
Under one existing redundancy scheme, employees over the age of 60 are entitled to as much as six weeks pay per year of service, with no maximum cap in place.
Speaking anonymously to MA, one Heineken employee said he believed any employee with more than 13 years of service would be worse off under the new scheme, and employees with 25 years or more service could stand to lose as much as two years’ worth of compensation, should they be made redundant.
Employees slam changes
In messages on the company’s messaging forum, seen by MA, employees vented their frustration at the changes.
“We are just a disposable commodity that they don’t like or want,” one said.
“Didn’t realise how much of a burden I’d become to the company in the years I’ve worked here. Embarrassed to work for a company that cares so little about its staff,” added another.
Around 600 of Heineken 2,000 UK employees are already on the new scheme, and the company insists the changes are designed to ensure a common redundancy policy across the business. The proposals are also significantly ahead of the statutory requirements for redundancy policies in the UK.
However, employees fear that the proposals are being implemented ahead of large-scale redundancies next summer, despite HUK insisting that no major restructuring is currently planned.
“If there aren’t any redundancies to come then why change it and why so fast?,” asked one employee.
“Another kick in the teeth for loyal long-serving employees. I take it this means there will be an announcement of large scale redundancies in August next year. Shame on you Heineken,” added another.
Open, constructive and meaningful dialogue
In a statement to MA, Heineken UK said: “Heineken UK is recognised as one of the UK’s leading employers. Our competitive rewards package continues to retain and attract talented people to join us on our exciting journey to become Britain’s leading pub, cider and beer company.
“Our business is growing, and we are investing at scale in the UK to ensure we have a successful, sustainable business that will benefit our colleagues and customers for years to come. We regularly review our employment policies and consult colleagues where appropriate, so we are now having an open, constructive and meaningful dialogue regarding these proposed changes to our redundancy policy.
“In our business, it’s important that colleagues feel able to express their views openly, and we are listening carefully to their feedback. While the consultation continues, it would be inappropriate to comment further on these proposals.”
Earlier this week, it was revealed that Heineken had taken a minority stake in south London craft brewery Brixton Brewery.
The exact percentage of the business acquired, and the value of the deal, was not disclosed.