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IUF Cautions Coca-Cola - Don't Misread UK Students Vote Against a Campus Coke Boycott!

Posted to the IUF website 10-Apr-2006

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The IUF has issued a strong warning to Coca-Cola not to misinterpret the UK National Union of Students (NUS) March 2006 Conference vote against a nation-wide boycott of Coca-Cola products on UK university campuses, According to IUF General Secretary Ron Oswald, "The fact that the NUS Conference chose not to boycott Coca-Cola throughout the UK does not in any way dilute the clear message to the company that this major customer group expects continual and credible improvements in trade union and human rights policies throughout the Coca-Cola system."

As an alternative to a wholesale boycott the NUS Conference passed a motion calling for continued engagement with the company through the National Union of Students Services Ltd (NUSSL).

Oswald thanked the NUS for their ongoing support to the trade union position and cautioned the company that "It would be a mistake if Coca-Cola felt any relief as a result of this vote. Coca-Cola must recognise that the vote was essentially about the tactical value of a boycott. The vast majority of UK students share the IUF's view that the Coca-Cola Company must guarantee respect for human and trade union rights throughout its global system and must put in place credible mechanisms to deliver on this guarantee."

The IUF will continue to work closely with NUSSL to ensure that those in the NUS Conference who voted for critical engagement with the Company rather than for a boycott took the correct decision. "If Coca-Cola does not deliver something that union members, students and customers will accept, then those who have claimed that the only thing the Company understands is the damage to market and reputation that a successful boycott might bring will be proved right," commented Oswald. "Coca-Cola will then face a much bigger problem as support for direct action will grow and will be joined by the majority who to date have argued for maintaining ongoing engagement with the company to achieve our common objective - a fair and credible mechanism to guarantee rights throughout the Coca-Cola system".