“Over 20% casual work – that is a big figure. Too big!”

March 5-7, the first Coca-Cola Regional Seminar for North Africa took place in Hammamet, Tunisia. Participants from Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, Mauritania and Egypt together with IUF regional and global Coca-Cola Alliance Coordinators jointly discussed the situation of workers at Coca-Cola in the region and ways of future cooperation.
A common problem in most countries is the casualisation of work. A mapping exercise revealed, that in certain locations, 20-50% of the workplaces are either outsourced or staffed with temporary workplaces. As one participant put it – “I think this is a very big figure. Too big!” These figures provoked a lively discussion on the consequences for trade unions, and on ways how to stop and limit casualisation. Kamel Saad, General secretary of Tunisias FGAT-UGTT, pointed out - “Our position is that permanent workplaces should be staffed with permanent, regular workers, and we are working on transferring more and more workers to permanent positions”.
Observance of trade union rights varies in the countries of the region. While some participants reported that disagreements between the social partners are being resolved within the procedures of labour conflict as stipulated by law, in some other countries, serious difficulties were revealed.
Participants also had the possibility to get acquainted with the history and present stage of the global labour relations between IUF and Coca Cola global management through the “Atlanta process”, and the possibility to get support for local struggles on union rights.
Discussion on international trade union network included the objectives as well as the information and cooperation resources being built in the framework of the Global Coca-Cola Alliance. The seminar included practical exercises on new communication tools, successfully using teleconferencing and helping participants to build their communication capacity for future cooperation.
“We need to change a situation where we don’t know what is happening in the neighbouring countries, and this seminar is a first step in this direction. We will need to meet more often, but also develop electronic communication tools” underlined Kamel Saad.
At a plant visit in one of the Tunsian bottling plants, participants discussed the questions raised in the seminar, especially the use of casual work, in a very open way with local plant management.
“We are impressed by the solidarity between the unions of this regions that this meeting has already shown, and we are looking forward to future cooperation” summarized a participant from Morocco.



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