IUF affiliate in Bolivia signs new agreement with Coca-Cola bottler limiting outsourcing

After five months of intense negotiations, the IUF-affiliated Union of Embol Santa Cruz signed a new collective bargaining agreement with the Bolivian Bottling Unidas fulfilling the expectations of workers.

"It was a difficult negotiation. From the beginning the company maintained its strict position especially in the discussion of economic clauses. But in the end 90 percent of our proposals were approved", said Irguen Loayza, the vice president of the Union Embol Santa Cruz.

The major achievement of the negotiation was the general wage increase of 12 percent for workers who earn a higher wage than the national minimum wage, and 23 percent for the new recruits who earn a basic salary.

"We are very satisfied. This year the government established a wage increase of 6 percent and we managed to double this percentage. Plus we got a very important wage raise for workers who have just been hired", said the union leader.

The union also succeeded to improve the compensation for night work and overtime, and gained a bonus payment for working on holidays.

Hiring college interns for specific and permanent work was limited. Now they can perform the jobs only defined by the universities.

Limiting outsourcing is another important highlight of the negotiation results. The union defined that only temporary functions can be outsourced, "said Loayza.

Approval of a vacation bonus and extension of production bonus to the commercial and administrative areas are among the outstanding issues of the negotiations.

Irguen Loayza stressed the importance of having joined the IUF and the Latin American Federation of Coca Cola Workers (FELATRAC) as well as the visit of Gerardo Iglesias and Pablo Quiroga and the union representative of Coca Cola Uruguay in Bolivia last June.

Thanks to the support of the IUF Latin America region and FELATRAC, the company backed away and the union was able to close a highly successful negotiation for workers", said Loayza.

Bolivian Bottling Unidas, which owns the franchise of Coca Cola in Bolivia, has four plants in the districts of La Paz, Cochabamba, Tarija and Santa Cruz.

In Santa Cruz amongst 680 workers in total, 450 of them are union members and another 50 workers are about to join the union after successful negotiation results.