What Coca-Cola FEMSA is trying to enforce is against the stability of work

An interview With Carlos Luch; General Secretary of STECSA

Just a few weeks before the bi-annual meeting of IUF with the Coca Cola Company in Atlanta, the situation of collective bargaining in Guatemala between STECSA and Coca Cola FEMSA has become even more complicated.

After nearly 13 months, the negotiation of new Collective Agreement between the Workers Union Central Bottling SA (STECSA) and Coca Cola FEMSA was suspended on February 21, 2012.

In the collective bargaining negotiations so far, 48 items have been approved out of 85 articles proposed by the parties, however the remaining part of the agreement will define the most important issues for the future of labor relations in the company.

"The 37 outstanding items are the ones Coca-Cola FEMSA intends to adopt against the union and workers. The company's approval would be a foretold death for the union," said Carlos Luch, general secretary of STECSA, in an interview with Sirel.

Carlos Luch adds that the Coca-Cola FEMSA is trying to implement measures that threaten the stability of job and salary guarantees.

"Moreover, the company would be seeking to implement a model for pre-sale which has been confirmed in Guatemala but which does not work and could cause serious damage to our structure, leaving us defenceless," said the General Secretary of STECSA.

Defence of rights

Faced with proposals deemed unacceptable, the lack of a genuine openness to dialogue and repeated stalling strategy by Coca Cola FEMSA, the negotiating committee of the STECSA proposed a suspension of the collective bargaining negotiations.

"We're not asking for much; just want to confirm what we already have in our Collective Agreement, which are the rights acquired as a result of many years of struggle".

Instead, the STECSA notes that in several articles proposed by the company, which had the intention to disrupt the Joint Board and modify the levels of efficiency, could lead to a reduction in wages, among others.

The negotiation committee of Coca Cola FEMSA has maintained a closed attitude, expanding the negotiation, even refusing to sign papers where the parties agree, saying they simply have no desire to do so.

"They are trying to condition the wage improvements to the acceptance of their proposals, but more importantly for us is the structure of the Covenant of workers' salaries, "said the secretary general of STECSA.

In response to this situation, the STECSA already started to put pressure on the central factory of the Guatemalan capital. Ongoing protests can raise the tone in the coming weeks.

"We plan visits to all agencies and workplaces across the country to report the situation to the rank and file members of our union. In addition, we have a schedule of mobilizations which will rise in intensity each day, and we are coordinating internationally with the IUF and the Rel-FELATRAC.

Please find the news story in Spanish on REL-UITA here: http://www.rel-uita.org/