IUF | Coca-Cola Workers Network | Monthly : April 2008

Coca-Cola Enterprise workers on strike in Northern France around pay negotiations

The French unions FO, CFDT and CFTC jointly launched industrial action on 17 April at the Coca-Cola Enterprises (CCE) production site of Bierne-Socx. Strikers demand a 6% raise on top of additional 80 €
per month to compensate athe remuneration gap between the company operations in the province and the ones in Paris.

The company offers is at 2.5%. Workers complain that with such low salaries (about 1,160 as a start) it is difficult to get by. Unions claim an 85% participation to the action, that has already resulted in severe disruptions, including a halt to deliveries and production slowdowns. Bierne-Socx is the largest Coke production site in France, counting 220 workers with a daily production capacity of 3,000 liters. The site generated 47 million € in profit in 2007.

To read more (in FR) click here.

Management tries to stop 1,800 new sales force workers joining unions, wages a "disinformation" campaign via SMS

In the face of a systematic “disinformation” campaign by management designed to trick 1,800 newly hired sales force workers into thinking they are not eligible for union membership, the IUF-affiliated ACCUP launched a counter-campaign and has started recruiting new members.

After more than a decade of destroying regular jobs, Coca-Cola Bottling Philippines Inc (CCBPI) which is 100% owned by TCCC, hired 1,800 sales workers in permanent positions called “Account Developers”. This was initially welcomed by the IUF-affiliated Alliance of Coca-Cola Unions Philippines (ACCUP) until it was found that in the orientation seminars for Account Developers they were told verbally that they’re not eligible to join a union.

This is despite the fact that the work, job description and responsibilities of Account Developers are exactly the same as Sales Force workers. The only difference is that Account Developers are told they can’t join the union and so are denied the rights and benefits that Sales Force workers get under workplace Collective Bargaining Agreements.

In response ACCUP raised its concern with CCBPI national management who refused to clarify the matter. So an organizing campaign was launched across the country with the support of IUF, with pamphlets in Tagalog explaining that Account Developers are the same as Sales Force workers and are legally entitled to join the union. In response plant-level management waged what ACCUP describes a “massive campaign” to discourage Account Developers from joining the union. This was done verbally and through thousands of SMS text messages sent to the mobile phones of Account Developers.

Despite this anti-union campaign, unions affiliated to ACCUP have managed recruit some of the Account Developers. For example, the Coca Cola Sales Force Union (SFU-PTGWO) recruited 26 Account Developers and the Bacolod Sales Force Union recruited 16 out of 26 Account Developers in March. For the sales force unions in Coca-Cola Philippines the recruitment of Account Developers is critical not only for the protection of the rights of new sales workers, but for the survival of the union.

Brother Alden Manalusan, the Union President of Coca Cola Sales Force Union, argues that the only way that Account Develops can enjoy employment security is by joining the union. At the same time it is important for the union to recruit Account Developers as members because this will give it the power to maintain their status and bargaining power.

Similar concerns were raised by Brother Cyrus Javellosa, Union President of Bacolod Sales Force Union-CIO-ALU,who argued that boosting membership through recruitment of Account Developers strengthens the employment security of all regular workers and is essential to defending the “essence of unionism”.

Update prepared by Danny Fuentes and Melai Miclet, IUF NCC HUG Philippines: ncchug_philippines@yahoo.com