Abuse of Contract Labor at Coke plants in China

Here is a developing story involving the abuse of contract labor at another Coke bottling plant in China.

Continuing an inquiry begun last summer into the abuse of the employees of labor dispatch companies (This is what labor sub-contracting firms are called in China), four university students took summer jobs with the Zhiqiang Company, a labor dispatch firm supplying "temporary" workers for the Coke bottling plant at Hangzhou, which is 51% owned and effectively controlled by Swire Beverages, the largest anchor bottler for Coca-Cola in Mainland China and Hong Kong.

In early August, when the students resigned to resume their studies, Zhiqiang refused to pay their wages. Instead its managers repeatedly threatened the students, one of whom was bitten by the company dog and they were severely beaten by company goons in the manager's office.

The students are less concerned about their own maltreatment than by the ongoing abuse of all dispatch workers at the plant.  Although the Hangzhou management and Coca-Cola have threatened to end the relationship with this specific labor dispatch company, the students are insisting that Swire Beverages and Coca-Cola take full responsibility for ending the abusive and illegal use of dispatch (outsourced) labor at Hangzhou and other Coke plants in China.

This initiative by the Mainland China Coke Concerned Student Group is now being supported by the Hong-Kong based SACOM (Students & Scholars Against Corporate Misbehavior).  Here is the link to its excellent background article and call for protest letters to the Coca-Cola Company:

http://sacom.hk/wp-content/uploads/2009/08/sacom_cocacola_31aug20091.pdf 

The file is also attached.

Mainland China and HK students are taking up the cause of casualized labour, whereas in other countries the campaign is led by the unions of the IUF Coke Workers Alliance. Although all the Coke plants in China are "organized" into the official union structures of the ACFTU, these unions have neither tried to recruit contract workers nor tried to represent their interests. Therefore while permanent workers receive relatively decent wages, benefits and conditions, the larger number of contracted workers at many plants suffer from degraded conditions, unpaid overtime, insecurity and abuse.

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SACOM CocaCola 31Aug2009rev.pdf500.5 KB