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!