Local unions from Coca-Cola unite to form a coalition against the upcoming massive lay-off of Coca-Cola FEMSA Philippines, Inc.

February 16, 2018

The management of Coca-Cola FEMSA Philippines Inc., (CCFPI), the largest franchised bottlers of Coca-Cola products in the Philippines, will be laying-off 606 of its workers by the 2nd of March 2018. Twenty-three of these to be laid-off are union leaders including four are 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. 

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 (FCCU-SENTRO/IUF) 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 restructuring and mass lay-off on March 2 are outright violations of the above. According to these agreements, unions should be provided with quality information and to engage in negotiations with union representatives to minimize the negative impact of any changes affecting employment.

The CCFPI management uses the implementation of the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) 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 (SSB). 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.

Enraged by Coca-Cola’s blatant disregard for our rights to security of tenure and for hindering our unions from effectively doing their duties as defenders of workers, various unions in Coca-cola staged picket protests in support for those affected by the restructuring and to oppose this anti-worker CCFPI management decision. But with more lay-offs to come, we need to come together and bring this issue not only to the affected workers but also to all workers who will suffer from this restructuring eventually. 

For this reason, we, all unions in CCFPI have come to form the All Coke Unions. Our unity is in our strength, and it is through this unity that we will fight for our rights as workers!  

We demand 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. 

We demand a joint agreement with the management: an agreement that will assure us that there will be no restructuring without negotiation with our unions.

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.

Oppose Coke’s blatant disregard for workers’ rights! 

Advance workers’ rights!

No to Contractualization

Stand with the All Coke Unions!


MANILA, PHILIPPINES – No less than 1,500 workers from the Federation and Cooperation of Cola, Beverage, and Allied Industry Unions (FCCU-SENTRO/IUF) held a synchronized picket protest early this morning in Canlubang, Iligan, Iloilo, and other Coke bottling plants and offices condemning the sudden massive lay-off of 600 workers of Coca-Cola FEMSA Philippines Inc., (CCFPI), the largest franchised bottler of Coca-Cola products in the Philippines.

According to a statement released by the FCCU-SENTRO/IUF, the retrenchment of these workers came without warning “while leaders of [of the union] were holding a meeting with the management of CCFPI” (habang nakikipag pulungan ang mga lider ng [unyon] sa management ng CCFPI). The union added that the company never informed the union that there will be changes in the business model of CCFPI, which, the company alleges, is the reason for the retrenchment.

Alfredo Maranon, National President of FCCU-SENTRO/IUF, states that the action of the CCFPI management violates the company’s obligations under the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) guidelines as well as the UN Global Compact of which The Coca-Cola Company in Atlanta is a signatory. According to these agreements, he adds, the company must hold talks with the union in order to “process the negative results on workers’ jobs and livelihood” (maagapan ang mga negatibong resulta sa trabaho at kabuhayan ng mga manggagawa).

The FCCU-SENTRO/IUF is set to hold more mobilizations until CCFPI heeds their demand to stop the termination of workers in the company and to sit down in a meeting with the union about the company’s restructuring program.– END

The FCCU-SENTRO/IUF is a member of the IUF Global Coca-Cola Workers’ Alliance, the Sentro ng Nagkakaisa at mgaProgresibongManggagawa (SENTRO), and the International Union of Food, Agricultural, Hotel, Restaurant, Catering, Tobacco, and Allied Workers’ Associations

SENTRO Position Paper on Charter Change


Photo by: Jun Santos (Sentro)

The Sentro ng mga Nagkakaisa at Progresibong Manggagawa (SENTRO) would like to contribute to the current discourse on transitioning to a federal government and parliamentary structure by highlighting the following arguments.


  1. The vagueness and contradictory nature of the proposals remain subject to serious question. The proponents of the shift continue to promise “self-sustaining local development,” “coordinated and effective exercise of legislative and executive powers,” “development of political parties,” as well as “preventing election of leaders based on wealth, popularity and name recall”. We find this an odd alternative considering there are simpler solutions to such problems other than changing the constituion. In fact, there have been long-standing proposals by civil society, sectoral and progressive groups, that would more effectively address these issues by:

a. Revising not the constitution but doing long-needed amendments to the Local Government Code (RA 7160), to address the inequitable distribution of internal revenue allotments, and decentralization between national and local levels;

b. Passing an Anti-Dynasty Law, long-campaigned for even before the Duterte administration, but continues to be stalled in Congress;

c. The implementation of fair electoral funding laws (as well as recommended amendments to the Fair Elections Act or RA 9006), which could also contribute to fairer and more competitive elections, as well as giving the Commission on Elections more teeth in pursuing violators; and

d. The passage of social legislation such as the Security of Tenure bill (recently passed by the House of Representatives on 3rd reading), alternative minerals management bill, the coconut farmers’ trust fund, gender-based online violence bill, anti-prostitution bill, expansion of the sexual harassment law, raising the age of statutory rape and anti-discrimination bill, reforms on social security policy, universal healthcare and the like—all of which are part of addressing uneven development throughout the country.

  1. There is no correlation between a federal form of government and inclusive development. To this day, proponents of federalism continue to argue that transitioning to a federal structure guarantees more economic activity. With research done by academics and policy advocates in the Philippines and abroad—and for that matter, even our own in-house researchers in the Labor Education and Research Network (LEARN) and SENTRO—we have found no clear correlation or guarantee whatsoever. The form of government has never guaranteed an automatic shift into equitable economic development. If any, they have only affirmed that government form shifts only normally tend to strengthen already-existing institutional features. If the nature of Philippine institutions already foster anti-development, are we really planning on strengthening those inequalitiesat the expense of selling us a promise of change?
  2. Questionable Changes to the Constitution. There is a very big likelihood of the proposals also opening the floodgates towards making other significant edits to other constitutional provisions outside government structure. More specifically, we are gravely concerned about any changes to the following economic provisions:

a. Article XII, Secs. 10-14: 60%-40% domestic / foreign ownership division and preferential treatment for Filipino labor;

b. Article XIV, Secs. 10-13: Science and Technology provisions, at least those relevant to intellectual property;

c. Article XVI, Sec. 11: foreign investor participation in governing bodies.

While it is not our main intention to question the credibility and standing of our lawmakers, we have already seen burgeoning attempts to redefine and restrict basic freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution (such as freedom of speech and freedom of information). That such proposals get a pass in the Lower House does not fill us with confidence regarding the intentions of those who would tinker with our fundamental laws.

Senate resumes hearing on charter change (Part 2)

Posted by ABS-CBN News on Thursday, February 1, 2018


  1. There is little optimism for labor rights protection and advocacy in a federal structure.If global experience is any indicator, a decentralized judiciary and policy making on labor standards do not inspire confidence, consistency of implementation, or hope of protection. 

In the case of federal/decentralized countries such as India and Pakistan, the imposition of national/federal laws regarding labor rights hardly happens, because the local elites would usually invoked “regional autonomy.” In the United States of America (the most well-known federal country in the world), 28 states now have imposed Right to Work legislation that prohibits union security clauses in collective bargaining, thereby weakening the labor movement.

  1. Impunity of local political magnates is pretty much guaranteed.Taking into account the aforementioned likelihood of local political dynasty entrenchment and the weakening of the central government’s incentives towards regulating erring local elites, we see a grim horizon for bottoms-up governance. Local sectoral, civil and political organizations will be left without any recourse or support from any other level of government (considering the very possible invocation of any conflict involving them as a “domestic concern”). In short, peoples’ organizations and civil society groups face the risk of their horizons being further shrunk, as well as their capability to scale up campaigns and advocacies virtually removed.

It is in this light that SENTRO emphatically advocates against the current moves to amend the Constitution towards a parliamentary-federal government. At best, we find the proposals too variegated and vague to inspire confidence and trust. At worst, we see the hand of vested interests and their allies to pervert the spirit and intent of the 1987 Constitution—long promulgated yet weakly-implemented.

Nagkaisa hails passage of Security of Tenure Bill

Labor Coalition Nagkaisa! is satisfied over the passage on third reading of HB 6908 on the Security of Tenure at the House of Representatives.

Nagkaisa! said that “the SOT bill is a great improvement to existing legislation as it gives more teeth to the government by providing penalties for those who will violate the security of tenure laws.”

“This is the farthest a proposed law on SOT has gone for decades,” said Nagkaisa! “Now, it’s time to get the Senate moving on their proposed SOT measure.”

“HB 6908 gives more flesh and blood to the guaranteed right to security of tenure,” Nagkaisa! said. “It’s not perfect or ideal, but we can live with it,” said Nagkaisa!, the largest labor coalition in the country.

Fear of employers allayed

Nagkaisa! also addressed fears of employers who went on record saying that they will have a “big problem” if the proposed measure was passed. “If the big problem employers have about HB 6908 refers to the potential cutbacks in the windfall of profits a number of employers have been amassing through the massive abuse of workers via contractualization for decades, the bill intends to do just that,” Nagkaisa! said. “Employers who do not abuse workers through contractualization have nothing to fear,” Nagkaisa! added.

“Never in the history of employment relationship in the country has workers enjoying regular employment and implementation of strict rules in labor contracting been detrimental to the economy and job generation,” Nagakaisa! said.

“Job generation is a function of the development of sectors of the economy influenced by economic policies of the government, and not by labor contracting practices,” Nagkaisa explained.

A “serious problem” employers noted is that if the SOT bill becomes a law, it will be detrimental to the economy and job creation. Nagksaisa! countered the argument. “Workers with regular employment generate more income, thus, with more purchasing power contribute to increasing demand in goods and services that lead to higher income taxes and VAT for the government. These are all good for the economy,” said Nagkaisa.

“The fear that the HB can lead to unemployment is only possible if they are not paying their contractual employees what the law currently demands. In other words, their argument is an admission that they are doing business at the expense of workers’ rights – and they want to continue doing so,” Nagkaisa! added.

The recent statement by the employers didn’t specify which provisions of the bill they strongly disagree with.

Nagkaisa! said it was grateful to Labor Committee Chair Rep. Randolph Ting who steered the discussions and Rep. Raymond Mendoza of TUCP Partylist and Rep. Tom Villarin of Akbayan Partylist who co-authored the SOT Bill and helped defend it together with Nagkaisa.

Nagkaisa! supports HB 6908

With its provisions that can be considered as marked improvement from existing laws and regulations pertaining to labor contracting, particularly Article 106 of the labor code and DO 174, rules and regulations on labor contracting promulgated by the DOLE last March 2017, Nagkaisa!, the largest labor coalition of worker’s union and labor organization in the country supports HB 6908, an act strengthening workers security of tenure, which was approved on second reading by the house of representatives last January 23.

Among these provisions are:
a) Disallowing subcontracting of jobs already contracted out by principal employers;

(b) Disallowing any form of fixed-term employment;

(c) Any one of the three conditions found present on the the employment relationship between the labor contractor and employees dispatched to principal employers, such employment relationship is deemed labor-only contracting. These conditions are (1) labor contractor has no substantial capital in the form of investment and tools, (2) the labor contractor has no control over the worker’s method and means in performing their function, and (3) workers recruited and dispatched perform functions which are directly related to the principal busines of the employer; and

(d) Labor contractors found violating labor-only contracting provisions of this act shall be fined Php 30, 000 for each worker engaged in labor-only contracting arrangement but the total amount of the fine shall not exceed Php 5 million.

Nagkaisa! admits that HB 6908 is not a perfect bill to prohibit all forms of labor contracting. However, the marked improvement in its provisions would surely address to a great deal widespread use of contractual labor in the country, and thus strengthening workers’ security of tenure and the exercise of their right to organize and collectively bargain compared to the present laws and regulations pertaining to labor contracting.

Nagkaisa now calls on the Senate to introduce more prohibitive provisions in their version of bills pertaining to security of tenure so as to further improve what HB 6908 has achieved.

Finally, we thanked the efforts made by Rep. Randolph S. Ting, Chairperson of the Labor Committee, representatives of TUCP and Akbayan! partylists, and the rest of the co-authors of HB 6908 for successfully defending and passing it on second reading.

NAGKAISA Labor Coalition
Press Statement
January 25, 2017