Guatemala: STECSA and FEMSA sign new collective bargaining agreement

On the night of March 3, after 14 months of difficult negotiations and a suspension of nearly five months of negotiations, the Union of Workers of Embotelladora Central SA (STECSA) and Coca Cola FEMSA reached an agreement and signed the new collective bargaining agreement that will be valid for two years.

On March 2, the two negotiating committees signed an agreement that actually gave way to the completion of this difficult negotiation.

"Solving the conflict and finalizing the negotiation were the most important targets for the new Board of STECSA" Carlos Luch, the General Secretary of STECSA told the IUF Latin America region.

The agreement allowed us to ensure a retroactive wage increase of 4 percent from 1 March 2015 and provided a wage increase of 4 percent from 1 March 2016.

This percentage applies to all items that have economic impact, in that case also with retroactive effect from 1 March 2015.

"While we are not entirely satisfied with the salary adjustment reached, we believe that the agreement consolidates job stability in Central Bottling Company S.A. (Coca Cola FEMSA) and maintains the structure of our collective agreement unchanged guaranteeing the acquired rights" Luch added.

STECSA General Secretary thanked the members for their unconditional support given throughout the duration of the negotiations, and called on them "to continue with that commitment and conviction of struggle."

He also urged all members to remain alerted "to defend the gains that were achieved through the struggle".

Finally, Carlos Luch shared the gratitude of STECSA to receive the  support and solidarity from FESTRAS and other national organizations, the IUF, the IUF Latin America region and the Latin American Federation of Coca Cola workers (FELATRAC).

"We are aware that the national and international solidarity have been key for us to succeed in all our demands. Solidarity and unity are the only way that workers can solve problems and enforce their rights, "he said.

STECSA currently has 955 members out of a total of approximately 1,200 employees.

Original story in Spanish is here