Philippines: Report union busting to Coca-Cola’s Ethics Hotline, and they’ll come after you!

When the Coca-Cola Sales Force union at Meycauayan, Philippines discovered last year that some management representatives were actively discouraging account developers from being union members (contrary to the policy announced to unions by Phillipines national management after IUF raised it with TCCC), they took the issue to their national consultation meeting and expected swift solution.
Instead, they were told by the national HR manager to not discuss the issue with him but write to Coca-Cola’s “Ethics and Compliance Hotline”.

While wondering why the issue could not be addressed directly, Arnel Blanquisco (President of the Coca-Cola Sales Force Union and Vice President of ACCUP for Luzon region), finally followed this advice and wrote in July 2010 to the Ethics committee – only to find out 10 days later that the managers who were involved in the anti-union activity had been informed about his complaint to the company, while he himself officially never got any response. From this time on they started to harass and threaten him.

In a culmination of this harassment, on 28 March 2011 Arnel was attacked and beaten by the CCBPI Territory Sales Manager, backed by three Team Leaders/supervisors. The assault, which occurred during the morning flag raising at the sales office, led to Arnel suffering injuries described in both the police report and medical report as “mauling”.

The incident follows months of harassment by Territory Sales Manager Myron Francia who last year forced recently hired account developers to submit prepared union resignation letters. After Arnel filed a complaint against Myron Francia and a court case, Francia became more aggressive culminating in the 28 March attack.

In a first reaction, local Coca-Cola management transferred Arnel as punishment!

As national conflict resolution mechanisms have obviously utterly failed in this case, the IUF has raised this outrageous incident to the attention of senior TCCC management and expects, once the facts are verified, swift remedial action. “We are very disappointed that a process that looked very positive in general is put under question by the failure of TCCC not only to stop a blatant form of union busting in a part of its operation, sending out the completely wrong signal to other employees, but also to prevent physical violence against a dedicated Coca-Cola worker and union representative” said IUF General Secretary Ron Oswald.

At the time of writing, Coca-Cola had started an investigation into the matter but no final outcome had yet been reached.

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