TLP: In Other News, Europeans Are Drunks
In this economy, workers who strike really should be pissed off about something critical. Props to the Danes.
Michael Christiansen, a truck driver turned union representative, is fighting hard to preserve one of the last, best perks of the beer industry: the right to drink on the job.
Mr. Christiansen's union brethren are wort boilers, bottlers, packers and drivers at Carlsberg A/S, Denmark's largest brewer. For a century, they've had the right to cool off during a hard day's work with a crisp lager.
But on April 1, the refrigerators were idled and daily beer spoils were capped at three pint-sized plastic cups from a dining hall during lunch hour.
"This is a right workers have had for 100 years," Mr. Christiansen says. "Carlsberg has taken it away without any negotiating at all."
This week, Mr. Christiansen led a strike of 260 Carlsberg employees at a distribution center in this Copenhagen suburb. On Wednesday, 500 workers at Carlsberg's Fredericia brewery in southern Denmark joined in. On Friday afternoon, Mr. Christiansen sent his men back to work temporarily after management agreed to renegotiate workers' right to free beer in coming weeks. ...
That's how you do it, organized labor. And it's not even a matter of wanting to be fucked up on the job. A Carlsberg forklift operator told the WSJ about how the brewery workers get down. "There is sometimes some whistling and maybe some singing, but that's not connected to the drinking," Martin Juralowicz said.
Meanwhile, in the U.K., there seems to be a little issue with self-control. Do the WSJ European correspondents cover anything other than boozing? Check those expense accounts, Rupe.
Around midnight on a recent Saturday night, 19-year-old Annelies Hopkins inventoried her evening's revelry: half a bottle of Jack Daniel's and four pints and six bottles of beer.A good job in a brewery would clear all that up.
As she waited in line at Lloyds No. 1 Bar, Ms. Hopkins, a secretary by day, said she had no intention of slowing down. "No, speed up!" she cried. Ms. Hopkins and her sister, dressed in sleeveless tops despite the cold weather, convulsed in giggles.
Such raucous partying routinely turns the weekend streetscape here in the capital of Wales into a scene from "Night of the Living Dead." Drunken young men and women stumble through streets fouled with trash and broken glass, while the police labor to maintain order and tend to those needing help.
The U.K. is struggling with a rise in alcohol consumption that many people contend is fueling public disorder and violence. Alcohol abuse and "antisocial behavior" have become an issue in the run-up to the nation's general election, to be held May 6. Politicians have proposed remedies ranging from minimum alcohol prices to bans on barroom promotions to wider use of shatterproof cups in places where broken pint glasses are frequently used as weapons. ...
David Jernigan, an alcohol expert at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, says higher alcohol taxes and restrictions on marketing have contributed to the declines in many nations. But in the U.K., he says, longer hours for pubs, cheap supermarket booze and the advent of "alcopops"—premixed cocktails favored by young drinkers—have pushed numbers in the other direction.
In Cardiff, the toll on a recent Friday night suggested the scope of the problem. Police and paramedics responded to numerous reports of assault or injury, including drunken revelers tumbling down stairs and a young woman punching two police officers. The city's main drinking streets were littered with trash and empty bottles. Alleys and doorways reeked of urine.