What ales Molson retirees?

TORONTO Wed Jun 10, 2009 1:12pm EDT

A bartender prepares a beer in a bar in central Sydney May 11, 2009. REUTERS/Daniel Munoz (

A bartender prepares a beer in a bar in central Sydney May 11, 2009.

Credit: Reuters/Daniel Munoz (

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TORONTO (Reuters) - Beer maker Molson is turning of the tap and cutting off the supply of free suds to its retirees, the Toronto Star reported on Tuesday.

Molson, a division of Molson Coors, said it was looking to "standardize" its complimentary beer policy.

There are 2,400 Molson retirees in Canada and their free beer costs the company about C$1 million ($900,000) a year, the Star said.

Molson retirees in the province of Newfoundland will see their monthly allotment of beer fall from six dozen a month to zero over the next five years.

Current workers will see their allotment drop from 72 dozen bottles a year to 52 dozen.

"There was no consultation, we just received a letter that this is a done deal, which is totally unfair," Bill Bavis, who retired six years ago after 32 years at Molson's in St. John's, Newfoundland, told the Star. "I think with the economic downturn they're trying to take advantage of us, as a way to cut retirees' benefits and justify it."

Unions have launched grievances in Montreal and Vancouver, where the allotment is less.

A spokesman for Molson said the company feels it still has a very generous benefits package.

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