Growing union repression and intense pressure from management on the remaining unionised Pepsi bottling plants is the clear picture that emerges from a recent IUF study of PepsiCo bottling operation in India.
Incidents at PepsiCo plants in India include police being invited in by the company management to physically beat up unionised workers and constant threats of dismissal when workers start the process of organizing a union in the many plants were unions currently do not exist or where they want to exercise bargaining rights where they do.
Against a background of systematic repression of worker rights that appears to extend far more widely than in India alone, IUF general secretary Ron Oswald commented,
“Given the intense interest in worker rights in Coca Cola production facilities around the world we should not forget that PepsiCo appears to be denying these rights as much if not more systematically in many of its facilities around the world.”
Oswald further noted that, “Coca-Cola may on occasions present serious problems to a significant number of our members, however the PepsiCo corporation appears even more determined to systematically deny these rights throughout its system. The result is generally significantly lower levels of unioization in PepsiCo compared to Coca-Cola bottlers around the world. We must bear this in mind as we try to both defend and extend rights acquired within Coca-Cola. Ignoring PepsiCo’s more serious abuses of basic rights could give them a dangerously competitive advantage over Coca-Cola, an advantage built on a more systematic and intense repression of basic rights. The IUF will continue to investigate PepsiCo as part of our permanent effort to bring respect, dignity and rights to workers throughout the world massive soft drinks sector.”