PepsiCo’s aggressive union-busting at its Frito-Lays plant in West Bengal was brought to the attention of tens of thousands of Indian Premier League (IPL) cricket fans at Eden Garden Stadium on Sunday. PepsiCo, a major IPL sponsor, faces growing criticism for its role in the mass termination of workers in March and April.
A total of 162 workers employed in three warehouses exclusively contracted by PepsiCo were harassed, assaulted then terminated after they organized a union with the support of INTUC and submitted their demands. The workers, employed under precarious arrangements involving a labour contractor and outsourced warehouses, were denied their legal rights. Shortly after they submitted their demands directly to PepsiCo management as the principal employer and to the warehouse operator, a gang of thugs was deployed to assault the workers and force them to leave the warehouses.
The public action at the ILP cricket match follows a press conference on May 23 that was covered extensively by local media and a mass demonstration at the PepsiCo Frito-Lays plant organized by INTUC with the support of IUF.