DUBAI (Reuters) -Gulf retail giant AlShaya Group, which owns the rights to operate Starbucks in the Middle East, plans to lay off over 2,000 people as the business takes a hit from consumer boycotts linked to the Gaza war, according to people familiar with the matter. The cuts, which began on Sunday, amount to about 4% of AlShaya's total workforce of almost 50,000 people and are mostly concentrated in its Starbucks franchise in the Middle East and North Africa, said the people, who declined to be named as the matter is not public. “As a result of the continually challenging trading conditions over the last six months, we have taken the sad and very difficult decision to reduce the number of colleagues in our Starbucks MENA stores," Alshaya said in a statement.
Starbucks union representatives want to create a national template for labor contract negotiations with the coffee chain, according to union organizers - an idea a Starbucks spokeswoman said the company believes is "speculative." The union, Workers United, has organized nearly 400 stores out of the company's 9,700 U.S. locations since 2021, and is seeking to organize more. Starbucks so far has sought to negotiate only individual contracts store-by-store.
Glass Lewis and ISS are siding with the coffee chain’s board ahead of a union-led proxy vote later this month.