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Retirees froth as brewer cuts free beer

June 9, 2009 at 9:10 AM

MONTREAL, June 9 (UPI) -- Some 2,400 retirees from Canada's Molson brewery are angry with the company's decision to phase out their free monthly beer allotments.

Retirees in Vancouver, Montreal and St. John's, Newfoundland, received a letter saying the company intended to standardize its perks across the country to current and past employees, the Toronto Star reported Tuesday.

After Jan. 1, current Newfoundland workers' allotment will fall from 72 dozen bottles or cans a year to 52 dozen, the company said. Retirees' free beer will fall from six dozen bottles a month to one dozen and will be phased out in five years, the report said.

In Vancouver and Montreal, unions have filed grievances against the company, which said the free beer costs about $1 million per year, the Star said.

St. John's retiree Bill Bavis, who worked for Molson for 32 years, told the Star he found the cutback announcement unfair.

"I think with the economic downturn they're trying to take advantage of us, as a way to cut retirees' benefits and justify it," he said.

In April, parent company Molson Coors announced its net profit more than doubled in the first quarter compared to last year, to $75.7 million, the newspaper said.

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