SUT-INARSA and Coca-Cola FEMSA begin collective bargaining negotiations

Strong expectations among workers, An interview with Daniel Reyes

On April 24, the Sole Union of Workers of Industria Nacional de Refrescos SA (SUT-INARSA) and Coca-Cola FEMSA launched direct negotiations for a new collective bargaining agreement.

After negotiating and signing the wage revision for the current collective bargaining agreement in March, which included a 7.5 percent general raise, an improvement in commissions, and a reclassification of positions and posts in the production area, the union and Coca-Cola FEMSA began the process of negotiations for the new collective bargaining agreement.

On the first day, the parties reached an agreement on 31 of the 73 clauses under discussion.
For Daniel Reyes, one of the thorniest issues in the company has to do with outsourcing
“We’re satisfied because the collective bargaining process got off on a good start, and we hope it continues that way, although we know that we haven’t touch on any of the key points of the negotiation yet, in particular with respect to the economic clauses,” Daniel Reyes, general secretary of SUT-INARSA, told SIREL.

Reyes explained that before they launched negotiations, the union and the company had begun discussing the delicate issue of route restructuring, which had sparked a lot of tension between the parties some months ago.

“We’ve progressed and agreed on a lot of issues, but we suspended the talks temporarily to focus on the collective bargaining process, because for us the most important thing is to guarantee and improve the workers’ benefits,” the union leader stressed.

According to the general secretary of SUT-INARSA, one of the thorniest issues in the company has to do with outsourcing. Although this is not going to be discussed in the negotiations for the new collective bargaining agreement, Reyes assured that the union was paying very close attention at how that situation unfolds.

“It’s an issue that we’re very concerned about and we have backed the passing of a law that will regulate outsourcing. We hope this law is approved very soon, so that we can use it as a legal tool in our discussions with the company over this matter.”

The union leader reported that the union has succeeded in reducing by 50 percent the company’s 350 outsourced workers. There are currently some 180 outsourced workers in the Sales, Operations and, to a lesser extent, Production areas.

“We have always made it very clear that we don’t want two categories of workers in Nicaragua: workers who enjoy the benefits of collective bargaining, and workers who have nothing.”

“In this sense, we’re going to continue fighting for this law to be passed and for permanent employment in the company,” Reyes concluded.

The company Industria Nacional de Refrescos SA (Coca-Cola FEMSA) employs a total of 710 workers, 444 of which are members of SUT-INARSA and enjoy collective bargaining benefits.

Please find this news in Spanish here.