Coca-Cola workers 'unhappy' with new company policies

Posted at 10/23/2012 7:45 AM | Updated as of 10/23/2012 7:45 AM

MANILA, Philippines - The Alliance of Coca-Cola Unions in the Philippines (Accup) is “unhappy” with the way the softdrink giant is spending millions for television commercials and advertisements to project the company’s good image in celebration of its 100 years of its manufacturing existence.

Instead of just compensation and increase in their salary, Accup member-labor unions are worried that employees’ security of tenure are seriously threatened by the systematic replacement of regular jobs with temporary or contractual jobs,” union leaders said.

Coca-Cola, maker of Coca-Cola, Sprite and Royal True Orange, is celebrating this year its 100 founding anniversary. Coca-Cola Philippines is up for sale by The Coca-Cola Co. It has been reported that Coca-Cola Femsa from Mexico is looking at the possibility of buying Coca-Cola Philippines and has sent a team to the Philippines to undertake due diligence on the company’s assets.

Fred Marañon, spokesman of Accup and president of Coca-Cola, San Fernando Rank and File Union, said apart from promoting early-retirement program, the company is aggressively outsourcing many of its regular jobs.

More recently, he said Coca-Cola imposed a program called P3 or Performance, Participation and Presence, which consigns thousands of workers and their families who depend on decent wages from regular, unionized jobs to “a bleak future.”

Some of the provisions in the P3 that Accup is opposing is that wage increase is performance based. Under the program, employees are subject to a performance review every two months and those with “unsatisfactory” records or failing to meet standards set by management for three consecutive period reviews may be summarily dismissed or terminated from work.

Marañon said the P3 is subjective and can also be used by the company to armtwist union leaders who stand up against anti-worker policies of the company.

At a press conference in Quezon City, the company sought patrons of Coca-Cola products to support workers in their struggles. Accup, composed of 48 unions in 19 Coca-Cola plants nationwide, is calling for salary increases among other benefits through collective-bargaining agreement.

“Every time you open a bottle of Coca-Cola, please remind the company to respect workers’ rights. Contrary to the bright and dazzling future portrayed by multimillion-dollar Coke advertisements, we workers are now confronted by a bleak future—a future of punishments and penalties, without negotiated wages, without job security,” Marañon said.

Marañon explained that the P3 program lacks any consideration of fairness and equity in wages and wage increases and that it removes workers’ hard-won protection against arbitrary and unfair punishment or dismissal, as well as protection against discrimination.

More important, it precludes the use of grievance procedures in questioning the penalties that are imposed to those who “fail” the performance appraisals.

“In other words, Coca-Cola’s P3 program is missing an important ‘P’—the welfare of its own people,” Marañon stressed.

Accup will launch a picket in front of the Coca-Cola main office in Makati City today, in protest of what they described as anti-worker policies of the softdrink company.

According to Accup, potential buyers of Coca-Cola should also look into the massive demoralization now sweeping across the ranks of workers.