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Workers Denounce Destruction of Regular Jobs in Coca-Cola – Philippines

by Alliance of Progressive Labor (APL) Thursday, Oct. 25, 2012 at 7:23 AM

Manila, Philippines: “Every time you open a bottle of Coca-Cola, please remind the company to respect workers’ rights,” this is the plea made by Coca-Cola union leaders this morning during a press conference. They are asking the patrons of the soft drink giant to support their struggle against employment policies that destroys regular jobs.

Workers Denounce Des...
2012-apl-coca-cola-coke-philippines-labor-union.jpgv7jsey.jpg, image/jpeg, 510x275

The union leaders explained how the Coca-Cola Philippines is systematically replacing regular jobs with contractual workers. Apart from promoting early retirement program, the company is aggressively outsourcing many of its regular jobs. More recently, Coca-Cola imposed a program called P3 or Performance, Participation and Presence that consigns thousands of workers and their families who depend on decent wages from regular, unionized jobs to a bleak future.

“Contrary to the bright and dazzling future portrayed by multi-million dollar Coke advertisements, we workers are now confronted by a bleak future – a future of punishments and penalties, without negotiated wages, without job security,” Fred Marañon, spokesperson of Alliance of Coca-Cola Unions in the Philippines (ACCUP) and president of Coca-Cola San Fernando Rank and File Union, said. “This is not the future we signed up for,” he added.

Marañon explained that the P3 program lacks any consideration of fairness and equity in wages and wage increases and that it removes workers’ hard-won protection against arbitrary and unfair punishment or dismissal as well as protection against discrimination. More importantly, it precludes the use of grievance procedures in questioning the penalties that are imposed to those who ‘fails’ the performance appraisals.

“In other words, Coca-Cola’s P3 program is missing an important ‘P’ – the welfare of its own PEOPLE,” Marañon emphatically said.

Ironically, this labor row comes at a time when Coca-Cola is celebrating its 100th anniversary. It also comes at a time when Coca-Cola Philippines is up for sale by The Coca-Cola Company (TCCC). It has been reported that Coca-Cola FEMSA from Mexico is looking at the possibility of buying Coca-Cola Philippines and has sent a team to the Philippines to look at the company’s assets.

“We wonder if FEMSA is aware of the massive demoralization now sweeping Coke workers?”, Marañon said.

The union leaders vowed to step up their campaign against Coca-Cola’s anti-worker and anti-union policies. “We will not stop until P3 is scrapped so that Coca-Cola Bottling Company is once again ‘a great place to work’,” the ACCUP leaders declared.

Put the Fizz Back in Jobs at Coke

At least 300 Coca-Cola workers belonging to the Alliance of Coca-Cola Unions in the Philippines (ACCUP) and their allies swooped down on the transnational corporation’s headquarters in Makati to denounce the ongoing destruction of union jobs in in the company.

This comes at a time when Coca-Cola Philippines is up for sale by The Coca-Cola Company (TCCC). Right now Coca-Cola FEMSA from Mexico is conducting due diligence on the company’s assets.

“The company’s attrition program – its systematic effort to replace regular jobs with contractual employees – is causing massive demoralization among the workers,” Fred Marañon, spokesperson of ACCUP and president of Coca-Cola San Fernando Rank and File Union, said.

The protesting workers unfurled banners reminding FEMSA to, “Beware: Aren’t you buying a hornet’s nest?”

“FEMSA should open its eyes to what is really happening,” warned Marañon. “They should be aware of the rolling pickets and mass actions in several plants around the country and of the growing consumer protest against the company’s crude policies”, Marañon added.

The workers also called on FEMSA to respect workers’ rights.

Marañon explained that Coca-Cola’s attrition program includes promoting early retirement, aggressive outsourcing of regular jobs, and the P3 or Performance, Participation and Presence.

P3 removes the fairness and equity in wages and wage increases, workers’ protection against arbitrary and unfair punishment or dismissal as well as protection against discrimination. More important, it precludes the use of grievance procedures in questioning the penalties that are imposed to those who ‘fails’ the performance appraisals. It consigns thousands of workers and their families who depend on decent wages from regular, unionized jobs to a bleak future.

“It is sad to see that after a hundred years, Coca-Cola is once again sliding back to being anti-worker and anti-union,” Marañon. Just four months ago, Coca-Cola marked its centennial anniversary.

The ACCUP vowed to continue their actions until Coca-Cola scraps its anti-workers policies like the P3. ACCUP’s campaign is fully supported by the Alliance of Progressive Labor (APL) and other unions and organizations belonging to Sentro.

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