Strikes planned over wage theft at Coca-Cola FEMSA Philippines

Members of the IUF-affiliated FCCU SENTRO voted overwhelmingly for strike action to stop wage theft on the first week of February, 2016.

Over the past 12 months workers at Coca-Cola FEMSA bottling plants and distribution centres across the Philippines suffered significant wage losses due to payroll errors including miscalculation of hours worked, unfair deductions and unpaid overtime.

FCCU SENTRO raised the issue in February 2015 resulting in a series of meditation meetings called by the government. Mediation failed with the company's refusal to recognize the payroll problem. In response FCCU SENTRO filed a notice of strike. The Department of Labor and Employment established a tripartite validation team in September 2015 to investigate payroll errors. After a three month investigation the validation team issued a report confirming union claims and issued a number of recommendations to the company. Coca-Cola FEMSA Philippines refused to accept the recommendations and another four mediation meetings failed.

Faced with the company's refusal to resolve payroll errors and compensate workers for lost wages, the Secretary of Labor issued an Administrative Order on January 29, 2016, ordering compliance investigations at all Coca-Cola FEMSA Philippines operations. It is the first time any company has been issued such an order and the move was welcomed by FCCU SENTRO.

With wage theft continuing and the company refusing to act,FCCU SENTRO held strike votes at nine worksites, with 95-100% of members voting in favour of industrial action to stop wage theft and repay lost wages.

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