Starbucks Middle East Franchises Fires 2,000 Workers After Boycotts

On Mach 3, 2024, Starbucks Middle East franchises started to fire over 2,000 workers as a result of the boycott against Israel’s punitive military campaign in Gaza, per a Reuters report.

Kuwait’s Alshaya Group owns the rights to run Starbucks in the Middle East and North Africa. The layoffs will result in a 4% reduction of its workforce, which has 50,000 workers on its payroll.  

“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 announced in a statement. The ownership group also noted that it will be helping employees transition as they leave the company.

Alshaya was founded in Kuwait in 1890. It holds the franchise rights for multiple prominent Western brands, such as The Cheesecake Factory and Shake Shack. Since 1999, it has possessed the franchise rights to run Starbucks coffee shops in the Middle East.  Alshaya currently runs close to 2,000 stores in 13 countries across the Middle East, North Africa, and Central Asia.

Apollo Global Management Inc, an American private equity firm, is flirting with the idea of purchasing a stake in Alshaya’s Starbucks operations, three individuals close to the matter said to Reuters in February. 

The layoffs come at a time when  Western brands are facing widespread  boycotts owing to Israel’s brutal military campaign in Gaza, which resulted in the deaths of over 30,000 Palestinian civilians, over half being women and children.

Per a Bloomberg report published on January 26, consumers in the Middle East are engaging in boycott campaigns against international brands that profit from or endorse Israel’s military campaign in Gaza.

On December 22, 2023,  Starbucks Corporation’s value dropped by over $11 billion in the final quarter of 2023 as a result of mass boycotts in solidarity with the Palestinians. 

Hopefully, more boycotts of this nature ensue. Apart from being pro-Zionist, these corporations are also woke. So they merit some form of economic punishment. Let’s hope that peaceful Middle Easterners do their part and make these companies pay for their anti-social behavior.

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