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Uniting Food, Farm and Hotel Workers World-Wide

PepsiCo Denies EWC Seats to Polish Union Delegates

Posted to the IUF website 17-May-2004

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PepsiCo Europe has closed the door to participation by three legitimate worker representatives from Poland in the meeting of its company-controlled "European Employee Forum (EEF)," which meets in Paris on 26-27 May 2004.

PepsiCo's EEF was created on 8 May 1996 at a controversial meeting at a Dublin hotel from which trade union representatives were excluded. At that time hand-picked non-union employees from administrative offices and fast food restaurants were given most of the seats on the council to the detriment of the mainly unionized factory employees.

Since then PepsiCo Europe has used every means to marginalise and exclude legitimate worker representatives, while continuing to pack the Forum with managerial and non-unionized employees. Delegates who belong to trade unions remain a minority on the Forum, even though they represent the bulk of factory workers, particularly in the large snacks factories.

In March 2000 the Spanish food federation of the CC.OO. protested that its elected representative was excluded from the Forum even though he was selected for the Forum by an absolute majority of PepsiCo employee representatives from Spain, in accordance with the Spanish law on European Works Councils.

The Polish Law on European Works Councils adopted on 5 April 2002 clearly provides that EWC members should be selected by representative local trade union organizations within the company. However the three trade union representatives from NSZZ Solidarnosc so selected, Slawomir Zagrajek, Artur Dluzniewski and Slawomir Paziewski, have been told that they would not be welcome at the forthcoming meeting of the EEF on 26-27 May.

Solidarnosc is exploring legal measures under Polish law to force PepsiCo to recognize the legitimate rights of Polish workers to be represented on a proper European Works Council rather the current fraudulent "Forum" at PepsiCo. EFFAT and the IUF are supporting this struggle.

Click for details of the creation of PepsiCo's Forum.