In January the union representing Coca-Cola workers at the Nasik bottling plant in Maharastra State signed a new collective agreement that pushed forward workers’ conditions in a meaningful way.
Wages were raised but were supplemented by bonus agreements largely doubling the average achieved in virtually all industrial plants in the State. A new canteen facility was also agreed, the first ever at the plant in a region where such facilities are not commonly provided.
However perhaps the most significant achievement came in the area of employment. In addition to securing permanent employment status for a significant number of previously casually employed workers from 2004 the union successfully confronted proposals from the company to insert a clause in the agreement that would have given them extensive rights to introduce outsourcing and contract labour. The union was determined not to accept such a clause and delayed the signing of the agreement by some months to keep it out. Eventually the company withdrew their proposal and the agreement was singed in January.
This information was shared with the steering committee of the All India Coca-Cola Workers Forum a recently created national body bringing together unions representing Coca-Cola workers throughout India.
The Forum will be represented at the coming global meeting for Coca-Cola unions organized by the IUF in New York on March 3 and 4 this year.