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TORONTO, 19 July 2015 – Employees of the Crown Metal Packaging factory in Toronto have ratified a new collective agreement, ending a 22-month strike.

Members of United Steelworkers (USW) Local 9176 voted today to accept a six-year collective agreement with Crown. The return to work process will begin Aug. 10.

A tentative agreement was negotiated July 8 after the company withdrew one of the major impediments to a settlement – its attempt to bar many striking workers from returning to their jobs. The company had recruited replacement workers to operate the Toronto factory during the labour dispute.

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Workers at Cervecería Nacional, Panama's beer and soft-drink subsidiary of global brewing giant SABMiller, have been on indefinite strike since July 10 in a conflict over basic trade union rights. CLICK THE FOLLOWING LINK TO SEND A SUPPORT MESSAGE TO SABMILLER! http://www.iuf.org/cgi-bin/campaigns/show_campaign.cgi?c=943

Heineken has bought United Spirits' remaining stake in India's United Breweries (UB) for INR8.72bn (US$137.2m).

The Dutch brewer, which is already UB's biggest shareholder ahead of Indian entrepreneur Vijay Mallya, increased its ownership of the company from 38.9% to 42.1%. Diageo, which owns 55% of United Spirits, confirmed the sale in a filing on the London stock exchange.

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The members of two unions that negotiate the new collective agreement with SABMiller National Brewery unanimously approved a decision to go on strike at an extraordinary general meeting.
Members of the Brewing Industry Union of Panama (STICP) and the Manufacture and Sale of Soft Drinks, Beverages, Beer, Spirits Industrial Union (SITRAFCOREBGASCELIS) joined the meeting held on Sunday June 28, 2015.

National Brewery of Panama, owned by the British-South African transnational SABMiller, rejected to negotiate a new collective agreement with the strategic alliance of two unions in the company. The arrogant and uncompromising attitude of SABMiller has stressed the industrial relations in Central America.

Where beer brands are actually brewed has been in the news again this week and the argument seems to be one of geography rather than one of taste.

In the latest round of disputes, Anheuser-Busch InBev stood accused of failing to detail that its Beck's brand, which hails from Germany, has been produced in the US for the US market since 2012. The affair has cost the company a US$3.5m settlement and a pledge to partially refund consumers up to US$50 per household.

Strengths

• Largest global beer company with annual sales of more than USD40bn.
• Dominant position in two of the world's most profitable beer markets: Brazil and the US.
• Total debt to EBITDA has been cut down from a five-year high of 7.8 to 2.9 in its last financial year, following InBev's USD52bn acquisition of Anheuser-Busch in 2008.
• By far the most profitable of the big three beer companies; the other two are SABMiller and Heineken.

Weaknesses

SABMiller has expressed an interest in growing its partnership with The Coca-Cola Co in the Latin America region. The UK-headquartered company, which agreed with Coca-Cola last year to create the world's tenth largest Coca-Cola bottler, in Africa, has bottling operations for the soft drinks group in El Salvador and Honduras. At an analysts' briefing in London on June 22, SABMiller flagged that it is keen to "deepen our partnership" with Coca-Cola in the region.

Earlier this year, the Kunstmann brewery, part of Heineken Holding CCU began unilaterally to make changes to the machinery of the factory in Valdivia. Workers reminded the company that it cannot take these measures without consulting the trade union and the company in response dismissed the 15 percent of union members.