Job cuts at Leeds brewery leave Carlsberg staff crying into beer

Four weeks after shutting its Leeds brewery for 72 hours so that staff could attend a major training programme, the brewer has announced the site will close for good with the loss of 170 jobs.

Carlsberg said the site, formerly the historic Tetley brewery, will shut in 2011. It said it could “no longer justify running two major breweries in the UK”. The other is in Northampton.

The news, described as a “huge disappointment for Leeds” by the city’s chamber of commerce, follows a major training event held on 3 October. Then all staff took part in a “flagship intreractive education and training programme” which Carlsberg dubbed ‘Learning Day’.

Training topics included: hygiene and pollution control personal development sessions advice on learning styles cost-buster ideas workshops and the launch of the Carlsberg Learning Centre. This, said the company, was designed to “help colleagues succeed within and outside of work”.

At the time of the Leeds Learning Day, brewery director Andy Hume said: “Our people are key to our success and we’re shutting down the site [for 72 hours] to demonstrate our commitment to their development. We aim to equip our staff… for a changing and challenging business environment.”

One month later, Carlsberg UK supply chain manager Nick Webb said: “We are announcing the closure proposal more than two years in advance so our employees are able to prepare for the future.”

But the Campaign for Real Ale called the move “probably the worst decision in the world for real ale drinkers” and described the decision was “short sighted”.

In the past Carlsberg has used horse whispering to train some of its managers.

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