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Bacolod City, Philippines Saturday, February 17, 2018
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Unions unite to
condemn Coke layoff

Local unions from Coca-Cola have united to form a coalition against the upcoming massive layoff of Coca-Cola FEMSA Philippines Inc., a press release from the National Congress of Unions in the Sugar Industry of the Philippines-Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (NACUSIP-TUCP) said yesterday.

The management of CCFPI, the largest franchised bottlers of Coca-Cola products in the Philippines, will be laying-off 606 of its workers by March 2, 2018, and 23 of them are union leaders, including four union presidents. CCFPI claims that the restructuring is being done to develop its new business model in order to conform to the challenges in the industry and the larger economic environment.

Roland de la Cruz of NACUSIP-TUCP said, “We are angered that the CCFPI management casted us out of the decision-making regarding the retrenchment of our co-workers. During our last meeting on November 16-17, 2017, the management did not mention nor discuss any plans to ‘review its current workforce'. Neither was this discussed in the meeting with union presidents in December 2017. The CCFPI only informed us of its plans last January 29 and 30 as it was issuing termination papers to the affected workers”.

The CCFPI management and the Federation and Cooperation of Cola, Beverage, and Allied Industry Unions signed an agreement which stipulates that the union and management shall hold discussions on labor relations issues, including violations of international guidelines for industrial and labor relations, like the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises, the press release said.

It added that the CCFPI management uses the implementation of the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion, or TRAIN law, “as a façade for their union busting despite having no evidence yet of the decline in sales due to the excise tax on sugary and sweet beverages”.

“CCFPI can never conceal the stench of union busting by hiding under the skirt of the TRAIN law. The workers and their families are not stupid and gullible to accept such elementary reasoning and alibi,” the press release added.

The group said all unions in CCFPI have come to form the All Coke Unions, and are demanding transparency. “We demand that the CCFPI management release a concrete evidence for the need to restructure and let the workers be consulted in any action related to this. We demand them to show us sufficient and reliable data that will prove the need for restructuring.”

When FEMSA acquired Coca-Cola Philippines in 2012, it made a commitment to invest and contribute to the country's economic and social development. “In trying to keep its top position in the market, it reorganizes its business without taking account of their workers' livelihoods. If CCFPI wants to keep that top position, it should act in a way that it indeed ‘adds life'. Any assault on trade unions and workers not only destroys jobs. It annihilates life,” the press release added.*

 

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