Coca-cola workers in Brazil launch national campaign for better wages and working conditions

The divergent wages paid by the same company in different states and those of different companies in the same state raise concern among beverage workers. The Food Industry Workers' National Confederation of Brazil (CNTA Afins) held a meeting on April 15, 2015 along with other union organizations in Sao Paulo to discuss wage and working conditions in the Coca-cola Company in Brazil.  On April 22, 2015 CNTA Afins announced the meeting's resolution containing a list of demands, such as the establishment of a wage floor equal to or higher than 1425 reais (around US$ 480), which is the highest salary payment for the beverage sector workers in Sao Paulo nowadays. The Coca-Cola Company in Brazil employs around 60 thousand direct workers and 600 thousand indirect workers.

Artur Bueno de Camargo, president of CNTA Afins says that the negotiations for better wages and working conditions with the company haven't been satisfactory due to the difficulties of negotiations with the bottlers.

"Coca-cola Company owns two bottling plants and has 42 bottling facilities managed by 16 franchised groups. This way, each of them applies their own policies regarding job positions, wages, benefits and safety at work.", says Bueno.  

Even after celebrating the fight for the implementation of a Profit-Sharing Plan (PSP)in 2013, CNTA Afins is still calling on the company to treat workers equally. The unions, therefore, want bonus for night work to be paid until the end of the working hours and payment of sick leave in the following month. They also demand more transparency and participation of unions in the implementation process of the PSP.  

"Since workers perform the same kind of job, we have decided to demand these five key points", says Bueno, who also highlights how important it is for unions not to accept agreements and collective bargaining negotiations that don't include the impact of inflation on the purchasing power and a real wage growth.

A study presented by CNTA Afins through its Inter-union Department of Statistics and Socio-Economic Studies (DIEESE) shows the salary disparities within Coca-Cola Company in Brazil. While workers of Spal in Sao Paulo earn around US$ 445 as a wage-floor, their peers in the same company in Campo Grande earn around US$ 250. There are salary disparities between different companies operating for Coca-cola in the same city or location. For example, in Manaus, workers of  Brasil Norte Bebidas would receive around US$ 250 as a minimum wage, while their peers working for Recofarma would receive around US$ 370. Interestingly, the company paying the highest wages in Sao Paulo is the same one paying the lowest wages in the state of Mato Grosso do Sul: SPal (Femsa). The list with similar examples goes on.

Normally, it's only the newly recruited workers who earn the basic salary employed under a trial/probation period.