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Guatemala: SITRAFRITOLAY signs its first collective agreement at Frito-Lay

20 February 2019 News
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On November 29, after long and difficult negotiations, the Union of Workers of the Frito Lay Compañía Limitada (SITRAFRITOLAY) and the PepsiCo subsidiary signed a collective agreement for the first time. The agreement will be valid for three years between 2019 and 2021.

"Getting the company to sit at a negotiation table was not easy, but we finally achieved our goal. Now we must not lower our guard. We must ensure that the company complies with what it has signed," commented Bonifacio Velásquez, general secretary of SITRAFRITOLAY.

In February of this year the company called us to discuss the possibility of collective bargaining. However, it tried to impose many conditions, among others that we desist from any collective conflict of an economic or social character. We started negotiating in August. It was a long and difficult process marked by delaying tactics by the company, but we finally managed to sign a collective agreement that will be valid for three years, "Velásquez explained.

For the union leader, the significant aspects of the agreement is the part that ensures job stability and for the company and the recognition of SITRAFRITOLAY as the majority union.

A salary increase was negotiated and the company also undertook to review in a joint commission both the salary schedule and the level of productivity bonus.

An increase of the Christmas bonus and improvements in other social clauses were also agreed.

The company also agrees to respect the right of trade union leave for union leaders.

"As it is the first time that we have negotiated collectively, we believe that the result is satisfactory and that we have set an important precedent. We will convene an assembly of members to inform members of what has been achieved, "said Bonifacio Velásquez.

Call for solidarity to stop layoffs

The Secretary General of SITRAFRITOLAY profoundly thanked the IUF, its Latin American region, FESTRAS and all organizations that have never left the union's side in this struggle.

Support, Velasquez says, is even more necessary now that the labor court is beginning to resolve a longstanding company request to dismiss some 30 workers.

Last week, the court authorized a first dismissal of three workers.

"Frito-Lay argues that these are temporary staff and that there are no places for them, but that is not the case. They are permanent workers who are affiliated with the union. In addition, in the production area there are at least 50 vacant jobs, "Velasquez concluded.

Please see here the original Spanish news story posted on the IUF Latin America region website.

Background of the recognition of SITRAFRITOLAY

On April 28, 2015, workers at the PepsiCo snack foods plant in Guatemala City legally registered their union, SITRAFRITOLAY, with nearly 900 members out of the factory's 1300 workers. In June 2015, the company violated their collective bargaining rights by signing a 3-year collective agreement with a small management-supported organization. Management and the company union offered workers financial inducements to end their membership in SITRAFRITOLAY.

Concerns about the failure of local management to recognize SITRAFRITOLAY in production and two other unions representing sales force and delivery workers were raised by the IUF secretariat with international corporate management. The company has subsequently agreed to recognize all three unions and started negotiations for a new collective agreement.