STECSA in permanent mobilization

Interview with David Morales, General Secretary of FESTRAS

The Union of Central Bottling Company SA (STECSA) has intensified its protest actions nationwide, demanding that Coca Cola FEMSA abandon its attitude to delay the negotiation of new collective bargaining agreement and remove measures that infringe on the acquired rights of workers.

"Workers in different shifts in the areas of production and sale of the central plant in Guatemala City have involved in the protest actions as well lately.

Likewise, the demonstrations through the streets adjacent to the central plant spread nationwide, involving the state agencies, "told David Morales, secretary general of the Trade Union Federation of Food, Agribusiness and Allied workers (FESTRAS).

Morales explained that the STECSA still requires to Coca Cola FEMSA to abandon its claim on implementing measures that threaten job security and wage guarantees and introduce a model of Presales and dynamic routing.

The workers are defending the constitutional right to collective bargaining, and we are making visible nationally and internationally through these protests that, day by day, the issues are heating up.

This system implies that the wage of workers in sales is variable, meaning that they will have a base salary and a commission based on sales they make. Currently workers receive a fixed amount for each box of soda they sell, and the percentage offered by the company today is less than that amount. The dynamic routing means changes in delivery routes, which may result in a loss of jobs. "This would harm the life of the Union in short term," said union leader.

Because of the intransigence and delaying of the employers, on February 21 negotiating a new collective agreement was suspended. STECSA had no choice but to initiate a series of protest activities, which are coordinated at national and international levels by FESTRAS, FELATRAC and Rel-UITA.

If Coca Cola FEMSA reconsiders and chooses not to negotiate responsibly, we would be forced to go on strike. It would be a long and exhausting way to achieve, but we are preparing for any situation that comes on our way, "said Morales.

So far 48 of the 85 articles proposed by the parties have been approved, but have yet to define the most momentous articles for the future of labour relations in the company.

STECSA keeps asking to ratify what is already covered in the Collective Agreement, i.e. the rights acquired by many years of struggle. On this basis it would establish a dialogue with the company on wage increases.

Please read the Spanish of the news at http://www.rel-uita.org/