Spare a thought for the striking Carlsberg workers deprived by a heartless management of a constant supply of free beer.For over 160 years, workers at Carlsberg's Danish breweries have enjoyed the right to drink beer throughout the day. When the company began in 1847, the local water was not fit to drink, so it made sense to allow the workforce to refresh themselves with the nearest liquid to hand.
(Understandable, really - this was 7 years before John Snow finally convinced the world that polluted drinking water was behind outbreaks of cholera in London and that wells and cess-pits do not good neighbours make.)
What is interesting in the case is that, despite all the Europe-wide public initiatives against the evils of alcohol and its detrimental effects on health, these merry Danes have continued chugging extra strength lager on a daily basis at the company's expense. Even the delivery drivers get three bottles a day (unaffected by the change) - although their ignition keys are linked to a breathalyser.
And the ubiquity of the product suggests that production hasn't suffered. After all, they are merely continuing a time-honoured tradition of refreshment; from the cider-fuelled Somerset farm labourers to the French workman's morning coffee and calvados, alcohol in moderation has featured in the working man's diet for centuries.
In fact, the workers will still be given free beer on tap, but only in the canteen at lunchtime - at other times they must restrict themselves to the soft drinks and water still available on the factory floor. Even the unions have the wit to see that they are on shaky ground here, arguing that it's really a matter of principle: "There was no dialogue over the issue at all, and that is just not good enough."
I believe the phrase is 'Nice work if you can get it'.