Dominican Republic: SinatraBedsa union signs new agreement with Coca-Cola

On January 8 2016, after a long negotiation marked by the employer's  intransigence, the IUF-affiliated National Union of Bepensa Dominicana SA (Sinatrabedsa) and the Coca-Cola bottler in the Dominican Republic signed a new collective agreement.

"It was a very complicated negotiation. The company has maintained its position of not wanting to negotiate clause by clause and wanting to impose changes that harmed the interests of workers", told Linares Diaz Cabral, the general secretary of Sinatrabedsa.

"Unfortunately, the threatening attitude that maintained throughout the negotiation process divided the workers. At the end we had to sign something that will not fulfill our initial expectations", he added.
Despite the difficulties faced during the nearly 5-month negotiation, the union managed to defend the main acquired rights and expand benefits.

While the salary adjustment was not 5 percent for this year, the union negotiating committee will sit with the company in June to negotiate a new increase.

Delivery of a bond and a Christmas basket worth of 4,800 pesos (105 dollars) is also guaranteed. One more day of vacation is ensured and the productivity incentive can not be denied if a worker is on leave or vacation.

The company also agreed to expand some routes, to improve facilities for workers to study, and to extend the benefits related to the death of relatives and access to medicines.

"We are living a very delicate moment. We call on all our members to stand firm and united, because the only way to assert our principles and defend our rights is to strengthen the Union, while we appreciate the continued support of Rel-UITA and FELATRAC", said Diaz Cabral.

Dominican Bepensa and its investments

In nine years, Bepensa Dominican S.A. has made an investment of over 200 million in the Caribbean island. It has doubled the production capacity of its plant, reaching to eight production lines, with 12 distribution centers across the country and 276 delivery routes.

In 2014, production of the company reached 55 million boxes of 24 eight-ounce servings.

Currently it generates 2,600 direct jobs and 15,000 indirect jobs.

Find the original Spanish story here