Coca-Cola Workers launch Global Union Alliance

Coke participants at Oberjosbach NGG training centre

Members of the newly formed Coke Global Alliance

To see more pictures, click here.

The IUF's 2nd Global Coca-Cola Unions Meeting took place on May 22 and 23, 2008 following five years of IUF Coca-Cola organizing around the world since the first meeting in 2003. This 2nd meeting was hosted and largely resourced by the German food workers union, the NGG and opened by NGG president Franz-Josef Möllenberg.

The Alliance launch

At this meeting representatives of over one hundred trade unions with members in Coca-Cola in 32 countries launched the Global Coca-Cola Workers Alliance.
A Steering Group of representatives form all region would lead the
Alliance between full Global Alliance meetings and an Alliance "Contact
Group" would maintain the twice-yearly meetings with The Coca-Cola
Company (TCCC) first negotiated and started in 2005.

The Alliance "pledge"

The Global Alliance of Coca-Cola Unions will be open to all IUF
affiliates with actual or potential membership in the Coca-Cola system
and commits Alliance member unions to support each other in case of
conflicts and in efforts to grow membership and raise workers
conditions throughout the Coca-Cola system.

The Challenge

Alliance members pointed to ongoing issues that needed strong and
constant pressure from the IUF and its affiliates and allies. These
included concerns at the growing use of precarious workers in place of
permanent workers, divergence between the practice of some local
managements and bottlers and the proclaimed corporate human rights
policies of TCCC and the slow progress towards a global agreement with
the Company which would commit the Coca-Cola system to rights and most
importantly to access by Coca-Coal workers to those rights.

Exchanges with TCCC Director for Global Workplace Rights

At a "Question & Answer" session with TCCC Director for Global
Workplace Rights, Ed Potter, most issues raised related to employment
security and the widespread use of outsourcing and agency work in the
system. There was agreement that this issue would feature centrally in
the next direct meeting between TCCC and the IUF team of affiliates in
Atlanta in October 2008.

Despite a robust Q&A session during the meeting the vast
majority of IUF affiliates acknowledged the positive approach of TCCC
in recent years towards wider engagement with trade unions and
particularly the Company's willingness to engage meaningfully at the
global level in stark contrast to many other US corporations and market
competitors.

Moving forward!

At the close of the meeting representatives unanimously voiced a
strong sense that the meeting had moved unions representing Coca-Cola
workers forward and that the Alliance would provide a platform to build
still stronger global union organization within the Coca-Cola system.
IUF general secretary, Ron Oswald, commented, "This IUF Alliance is
in the hands of our members and represents our best collective chance
to exert pressure and positive influence on this complex global
corporate system. Coke will continue to engage with us and we will see
progress, but progress built both on our engagement with Coke and,
probably principally, on our growing organized strength within the
entire system - there will be challenging times ahead for Coke workers
and this Alliance can represent our best chance to overcome and move
forward
."

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